LUSK – According to the National Center for Justice research, only 30% of those dogs who attend K9 training actually make it through all levels, certify, and begin working with police departments. Following eighteen months of work, the Lusk Police Department is excited to welcome K9 Loki to their team.
K9 Loki and his handler, Officer Jake Gordon, recently completed their rigorous training in Colorado and are now ready to go to work. Loki graduated with honors and is narcotics, tracking and evidence search and bite certified. He is certified with the United States Police Canine Association. This certification requires a great deal of paperwork and involves intense testing and high standards.
It was important for Officer Gordon, who was on staff with the Lusk police department prior to the acquisition of Loki, to train alongside his K9 officer. He received 10weeks of team training with his dog learning how to work with Loki, read his cues and understand Loki’s unique personality.
Much as no military or police department would ever want to send a human officer into work without appropriate training, it is equally important for the success of a K9 officer.
Even prior to his first full day “on the job” Loki was already proving that this training time and cost were paying off. A visitor to the Lusk area reported a missing wallet in the area around the Outpost truck stop. Loki was able to take two passes through an open field and find the wallet. This is part of his evidence and tracking training. Loki is trained to alert for anything that seems out of the ordinary or strange.
His first full day Loki went through a training exercise in which evidence was hidden inside the center compartment of a vehicle and parked in a shop. Even with faint scent trails and the complex environment an inside search entails, Loki was able to correctly alert his partner when he found where the substance was located.
Officer Gordan stated that one of the most difficult things to learn was how quickly Loki’s alerts happen and how to read his dog’s body language. Loki is a high energy, high-drive canine and will alert quickly and then begin scanning his environment again. It is important that Gordon be keenly observing his dog in order to not miss an alert.
In addition to Loki, the policy department also received a grant to retrofit the canine unit truck. They have a sensor system that is constantly reading the interior environment of the vehicle to ensure Loki’s well being. If the system detects that it is getting too hot, a text alert is sent to Gordon’s and Chief Krein’s phones. The system also rolls down the window on Loki’s side and kicks on a fan to cool off the vehicle.
Another aftermarket improvement is the ability of Gordon to push a button on his key fob that will open up Loki’s door in the event that Gordon needs Loki’s assistance and is unable to return to the truck and retrieve Loki.
Chief Bo Krein is enthusiastic about Loki’s future in Lusk and with the police department. Loki will be used primarily for narcotics searches, but can also be called to look for evidence or tracking.
Now, when Krein receives a tip call that a shipment of illegal substances might be coming through Lusk, the department can be more proactive and prepared to find those drugs. The best possible scenario is that Loki allows the department to work more efficiently and it is more safe for officers.
In the state of Wyoming officers do not have to have a warrant issues to conduct a search with a dog since air is considered “public domain.” While this is not true for all states, Krein and Gordon are thankful this interpretation allows them to use Loki to enhance the effectiveness of the Lusk department.
Most K9 officers are able to work for the life of the dog barring any accidents or incidents. This means that Officer Gordon and the department can anticipate working with Loki for eight or nine years. Just like any officer, Loki will continue to train and work even when there is no incident he is needed for.
The rest of the police department will also be receiving training over the next few weeks to learn how to incorporate Loki into the rest of their team and how to work with the dog. For now, Loki is learning the ropes of Lusk and enjoying his play rewards when he does a job well.