K9 Frees Locates Evidence

The following is extracted verbatim from the Madison Police Department blotter:

June 21, 2016 8:32 AM

Last evening, Officer Nick Eull and K9 Frees were dispatched to assist with a weapons offense investigation. What had started out with two juveniles physically fighting in a nearby park escalated into a stabbing. After the initial fight was over, the juveniles involved returned to the 6700 block of Schroeder Road to continue the fight. During this altercation, the suspect stabbed the victim once in the back. The victim was transported to the hospital for treatment of his non-life-threatening injuries.

Nick_Eull_with_FreesThe suspect was arrested on scene without the weapon used in the attack. Officers on scene were able to determine an area that the weapon was likely discarded by the suspect. Officer Eull and K9 Frees were called to attempt to locate this key piece of evidence.

Our patrol K9s are trained to locate evidence. They do this by sniffing an area for an object or objects that contain human odor. In K9 Frees case, the weapon had been tossed into a large, thick, heavily vegetated area. As dusk was falling, Officer Eull had K9 Frees begin sniffing the area in question. They began on the downwind side of the area, as this helps carry scent to the dog. In short order, Officer Eull recognized K9 Frees change of behavior as Frees began working a scent cone created by the object. K9 Frees worked to the source of this scent, alerting on the weapon used in this violent attack. K9 Frees was able to locate this weapon, which was also laying under some vegetation, in about three minutes.

Great work by this team and another example of how our K9 partners compliment the work we do every day.

Officer Jason Baumgart & K9 Allied Graduate

From the MPD Blotter: Newest K9, Allied, already having an impact

June 3, 2016 9:50 AM

Officer Jason Baumgart and his K9 partner, Allied, just recently graduated from their 6 week handlers course and another week of in-house training before “hitting the streets.” The team has already had a couple of noteworthy cases in less than two weeks of working in patrol.

The team was utilized for two separate cases of suspected drug trafficking. The first case required K9 Allied to sniff a vehicle. K9 Allied alerted on the vehicle where illegal drugs were recovered. A search warrant for the suspect’s apartment was also executed. K9 Allied was utilized to sniff the apartment where additional illegal drugs were located. In all, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and cash were seized during this investigation.

Less than a week later, Officer Baumgart and K9 Allied were called to another traffic stop. K9 Allied sniffed the exterior of the vehicle, alerting to the odor of illegal drugs in the van. This sniff allowed a subsequent sniff and search of the vehicle’s interior where a kilo of cocaine was located hidden in a container.

Officer Baumgart and K9 Allied’s impact are already being felt.

Jason_K9Allied2

Sgt. Jeff Felt and K9 Carl Graduate

Officer Baumgart and I continued our training this last week with our K9 partners, Allied aGraduation Photond Carl, respectively.  We continue to progress in our training.  Our training week began with searching in a working jail.  We both did searches, Carl and I searching for explosives, and Allied and Jason searching for illegal drugs.  The dogs did very well.  This is important for the teams to experience, not only because we’re searching a different type of facility, but for the environmental factors as well.  We had to go through the security process with the dogs.  We had to wait, to be “buzzed in” to the secure areas.  The dogs also had to ride elevators, which was for many I’m sure the first time they experienced this.  After completing the morning in the jail, we moved onto working in a school.  We did more searches, with Jason and Allied also working on building searches that are meant to replicate a burglary.  The searches are still simple and relatively quick as the dogs learn what’s being asked of them.  This will progress to the point where a well-trained dog is capable of methodically searching a burglarized building with little verbal communication with the dog and handler.  The dogs can learn to search and “down” (lay down with a command) with hand signals which allows us advantages from a tactical standpoint.

Carl and I continued to do many different types of explosive searches.  He’s now searching the wing of a school and larger and more challenging areas.  To think we started a few short weeks ago working in a small room.  His progress and aptitude have been amazing.  I’m also getting better at what I do.  The search for illegal drugs (which I did with my former K9 partner) and the explosive search patterns are quite different, which makes sense for obvious reasons.  For many of our explosive searches, they will begin on the outside of the building-clearing the outside before we clear a doorway to make entry into an area.  Our searching has to be methodical and disciplined.  With my old K9 partner, it didn’t matter if he wanted to jump up on a file cabinet to sniff for drugs.  Very different with an explosive detection dog.  You don’t want the dog jumping on anything!!  Also, if I haven’t mentioned before, both dogs are trained for passive alerts, which means they sit or lay down as close to the source of the odor as they can.  There are aggressive alert trained dogs which means they scratch at the odor source, again not a good quality for a bomb detection dog.

Our training progressed so well, Carl and I were able to return home this weekend after four weeks of training.  Officer Baumgart and Allied, because they are dual purpose and have so many more disciplines to be proficient in, will be training for two more weeks.  The two are doing very well.  They’re often training in another area from where I’m training, but we did have a few opportunities to work together this last week and the two have clearly bonded and complement each other well.  They’re continuing to progress on their tracking (longer and more aged tracks), narcotics searches, obedience, and bitework.  We’re certianly looking forward to having them home soon!

I’ve attached a “graduation” picture of Carl and I.  I left out the “action shots” of him jumping on top of me….If you look closely, you might see a paw print or two on my uniform.  He’s a great dog with a big personality-a joy to work with.  Thanks for following our progress.

Sergeant Jeff Felt

Pet World Dog Wash Fundraiser

Special Fundraiser at Pet World each Wednesday in May

All funds from the in-store dog wash ($15 per dog) will be donated to Capital K9s.

  • May 4, 2016
  • May 11, 2016
  • May 18, 2016
  • May 25, 2016

(click on poster for details)Pet World Dog Wash 2016Pet World Dog Wash 2016

 

Week 3 Training Update

Reported by Sgt Jeff Felt, Madison Police Department

Officer Baumgart and I continue to progress in our training with K9 Allied and K9 Carl.  As I’ve mentioned, the training continues to build for both the handlers and the dogs.  Much progress was made this week and there is much more to learn!

Jeff & Carl in TrainingJason & Allied in training

I’m not sure exactly what the weather has been like at home, but I can assure you, this area of Pennsylvania and Ohio where we are working and staying has certainly made me feel right at home (yes, multiple days of snow, cold weather, and huge temperature swings-sometimes within the hour).

This past week, on Monday, we started our training at the fairgrounds.  We worked on tracking during the morning.  The dogs are now working on increasing the distance of the tracks and working into the tracks.  This means instead of starting at the beginning and going forward (following the track as laid), the dogs are started perpendicular to the track and worked toward the track.  They get to the track and have to pick a direction.  Again, this is channeling their genetics (drives) to hunt and find food.  In the wild, they would come across a track.  If they track the freshest direction, they are rewarded, potentially, with a meal.  If they track the other direction, older part of the track, they don’t eat.  As the week progressed, the tracks are getting longer in length and are beginning to be “aged”.  Instead of a fresh track, the dogs are now tracking 20-30 minute old tracks.

We also did scent detection at the fairgrounds.  It was windy and cold, but we searched large sections of bleachers, a challenge for the dog and handler (figure out a pattern that works for both).  You work downwind and work into the wind on your search pattern.  The scent you’re looking for produces a scent cone, that’s influenced by the environment, but eventually the dog will reach that scent cone and work right to the source (narcotic or explosive).  It’s amazing to watch.

Tuesday and Wednesday we did “certifications.”  This involved all of the disciplines we’ve been working on, but were done as testing.  Most of the searches we do are all unknown to us.  The teams are put through a series of tests by an independent certifying agency.  In this case, this was a mock test by the trainers of Shallow Creek Kennels.  However, before we leave there will be an independent certifier to test the dogs on all aspects of their training.  All of our dog teams in Madison are certified annually by the North American Police Working Dog Association (NAPWDA).  The certifications were done at a large high school, where the dogs sniffed lockers for the first time, and at the auto salvage yard.  Carl and I did our first long line search (on a 15 foot leash), where he was out in front of me sniffing a row of cars.  We worked on the downwind side of the cars.  There were 12 cars for him to sniff and he quickly found the two that had explosives in them.

Thursday we were at a large mansion working on searches, obedience, and other environmental factors.  For example, the dogs have likely not been exposed to large, open, metal stairwells.  There is a two story stairwell like this attached to the building.  We took our dogs up and down this several times until they were comfortable.  The same holds true for dark, narrow stairwells.  We’ve done that several times with the dogs.  These are environment factors they will experience as they are doing patrol work.  Officer Baumgart and K9 Allied also starting doing building searches.  The dogs have the ability to locate a suspect inside a building, whether or not they are exposed.  If the suspect is hiding behind a door, for example, the dog will sniff the door and bark, letting officers know that the suspect is there.

Friday, we did tracking during the morning hours.  Over the lunch break, we were visited by a K9 officer from a nearby agency who had recently lost his K9 partner to gunfire–the dog was killed by a burglary suspect while they were clearing a business that had been broken into.  He talked about the details of the call, everything from the tactics he used, things he would do differently to treating his partner after he’d been shot.  The presentation was emotional and humbling.  A reminder of how these amazing animals help keep us all safe with their selfless service.  The officer or officers would have likely been shot by the suspect, but the dog located him first (this was a “routine” burglary call-no idea the suspect was armed with a gun).  Also, a reminder for us that there are no “routine” calls.  The afternoon consisted of more building searching for Officer Baumgart and Allied. Carl and I learned how to search luggage and packages.  It was another busy week of working and learning.  Three weeks are in the book.  We’ll keep you posted on our progress.  Thanks for reading and supporting our unit!

Sergeant Jeff Felt