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Monday
Apr272015

Spring Time Fun

Hello, Friends,

How wonderful it is for Spring to finally have arrived! We've been long overdo for nice weather and it looks like we're heading in the right direction!

I had the opportunity to volunteer at a K9 Nose Work Level 3 trial in East Troy, WI on April 10th. That was  a very nice educational experience for me, as I was able to observe multiple teams and how they negotiated the different search areas. I am in the process of training my dog, Turbo for his NW3, so this experience was very beneficial. I will be volunteering for another K9NW3 trial on May 3rd and I'm looking forward to that as well.

Pet Wellness Expo at Elkhorn High School - Daun and Nancy helping me set up the boothApril 18th was the Pet Wellness Expo at Elkhorn High School in Elkhorn, WI. That was a great way of meeting new people and having the opportunity to educate people on the benefits of Force-Free training and positive reinforcement methods. It still saddens me to see trainers promoting the use of painful pieces of equipment to get the dog to do what they want them to do. I watch these poor, innocent animals as their handlers yank them around, causing them to yelp. For me, it's a very hard thing to see.

The more education we can put in place, not only for the public, My pawsome assistants, Nancy Smith and Daun Bollbut also other professionals in the animal care industry like veterinarians; groomers; kennel and doggy daycare owners as well as reaching out to trainers who use compulsion to train, we will continue to move dog training in a healthier and force free direction.

On Sunday, April 19th, the American Cancer Society's BARK FOR LIFE took place at Waterford High School in Waterford, WI. What a fantastic turn out! Over $3000 was raised to help fight cancer!

Paws-A-Tive Choice K9 Nose Work student, Angela with her two dogs, Mindy and Henry. Henry is a cancer survivor.Cancer survivors, both human and canine attended this event. It was awesome to see the number of supporters come out with and without their dogs to support this worthy cause. One my K9 Nose Work students, pictured to the left, Angela Tojek has a dog that is a cancer survivor. Henry (sporting the purple Bark for Life bandana) was there to participate in the dog-walk and enjoy the fesitivities. Henry is now cancer-free!

Paws-A-Tive Choice, K9 Good Neighbor graduate, Holly with her daughter and dog, Obi Wan. I saw a number of people I had not seen in quite awhile. It was a lot of fun for me to work at the registration table, as I was able to meet and greet every person and dog that came to the event.

There were a number of vendors there who helped support the cause and the Waterford High School students created and donated a number of beautiful handmade crafts for the silent auction.

One of the highlights of the event was to have two of our Racine County Sheriff Deputies, Ed Drewitz and Dave Fisher come with their K9 crime fighting partners, Friday and Murphy. They put on some excellent demos for the crowd.

To the left is Deputy Dave Fisher demonstrating what it's like to have K9 Friday take down a suspect. For Friday, it's all a fun game. Lots of praise and play is always done after every task these dogs perform.

Deputy Dave Fisher holds on to K9 Murphy as he goes for the bite-sleeve worn by Deputy Ed Drewitz. Both Murphy and Friday find the bite-sleeve to be a fun game and once in a while, Murphy gets to leave with the sleeve. He's so proud as he prances around with it in his mouth.

This was an excellent opportunity for our community to meet the deputies and their K9 partners. After the demo, attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and talk with the deputies and meet their dogs.

What's coming up? I am hosting a Self-Defense class for dog trainers at my learning center on May 9th. This will be taught by Daniel Antolec, a colleague of mine in the Force-Free Trainers of Wisconsin group. Daniel served in law enforcement from 1977  to 2007 and on two EMS services. He was certified by the State of WI to teach Defensive and Arrest Tactics and Vehicle Contacts to police officers. A member of Namkido Karate Club, he practiced for 10 years and achieved a black belt and taught a Women's Self-Defense course for five years.

Photo taken on 9-27-06: The day of Dan's police retirement, with one of his long-time partners. It was the end of a 30 year career.Now, in Dan's post-police career, he owns and operates Happy Buddha Dog Training, focusing on in-home, personal pet dog training using ONLY force-free methods. The photo to the right was a graduation photo from one of his recent dog training clients who gave him permission to use the photo of Dan with their dog. Dan said it represents his present state of "Human Being" and his relationship with dogs.

I am excited to be hosting this class and I have no doubt Dan and his wife, Faye who will also be helping teach the course is going to be outstanding!

I'm keeping fingers and paws crossed that we'll have perfect weather for the Paws-A-Tive Choice Kick-off to Summer Picnic on May 24th. Food and fun K9 Nose Work to play at the picnic.

On June 13th, Jolene Zimdars is coming back to Paws-A-Tive Choice to take portraits. There will be three portrait options: Agility action shots; K9 Nose Work Vehicle and Exterior photos and Outdoor Portraits. Click here to reserve your spot. Only 20 sittings available.

Don't forget: The MID Spring Session of Dog training classes begins the week of May 11th. A couple of classes have already filled, but there are plenty of others you can still join to get into the fun! Go to the Class Schedule for a full list of classes offered.

Until next time -

Stay pawsative and remember to always train happy!

Kathy

 

Tuesday
Mar242015

Visual Barriers - Very Helpful

Hi, Friends -

For those of you who have been to my learning center in Union Grove, you know how many safety measures I have in place. Being that I've been involved with dog training for 22 years, I've seen the dangers of dogs getting too close to one another because of crowded places; too many dogs in a class with not enough area to give the dogs space; one door for entering and exiting, many without a window... These factors all add up to potential problems that could turn dangerous between dogs who can not handle confrontations.

I've also been on the receiving end of having some bad things happen to my dogs over the years. I don't want my students to experience what sadly, me and my dogs have. I am continually striving to make the training environment better for my students and their dogs.

Although my learning center is 7,000 square feet, I will only have up to 6 dogs max in a class. I usually try to keep my classes around 5 dogs, with an occasional sixth dog if I know the owner and dog. This is so I can give the space needed to help dogs that may have space issues. But also, so I can be sure each dog and handler gets the personal attention they deserve.

4 foot comfort barrierI have now made several "comfort" barriers that I am using in my classes. If a dogTurbo sitting behind the 4 foot comfort barrier in the training area is not comfortable seeing other dogs working, because the pooch becomes too aroused, we can now pop up these portable comfort barriers so the dog can't see the other dogs working. I used my 3 foot and 4 foot barriers in my K9 Good Neighbor program last evening and those made a big difference.

I work a lot with dogs that have a variety of behavioral issues. K9 Nose Work is one sport that any dog of any age can participate in successfully. This is also a sport that if a dog does have sensitivities to other dogs or things going on in the environment, they can still excel at this sport.

Turbo's crate in the front office - note the sign I have on the side of the crate. This is also an added precaution so people know my dog is in his crate.In my K9 Nose Work classes, dogs are either crated in the owner's vehicle, or are crated in another room. A crate cover comes in very handy, as one can simply put that over the dog's crate and you're ready to go. However, there are dogs that do not do well being covered in a crate. This is where the comfort barrier can beTurbo lies in a crate with the 3 foot comfort barrier around him in the front office. handy. With these comfort barriers, the sensitive dog can now be behind the barrier either crated or on leash with the owner. These are only visual barriers and not intended to be used for physical barriers.

If a dog needs to be crated further away from other dogs, we can crate them on the far side of the learning center and put up these comfort barriers so the dog in the crate does not see the dogs working and especially, the dog out working can not see the dog behind the barrier.

However, if a dog is a barker, we would not crate the dog in the training area where the K9 Nose Work is happening. We then look at other options to keep the dog and handler comfortable.

Dog training should be fun, but it can be stressful, especially if one has a dog with any type of sensitivities. At Paws-A-Tive Choice, you are never judged. I work with each owner to find ways to keep them and their dog comfortable so the training can be a good experience.

Stay pawsative and keep training happy!

Kathy

 

Sunday
Mar152015

Spring is in the Air!

Hello, Friends!

We are finally getting a taste of spring! The snow is melting and the birds are making their way north.

It's been busy here at Paws-A-Tive Choice. On January 31st, I was at the Great Lakes Pet Expo at Wisconsin State Fair Park. I was in the Pet Safety Area speaking with families about appropriate children and canine interactions, all to prevent dog bites. It was a good day!

I held a Practice Odor Recognition Test (ORT) for K9 Nose Work dogs on February 20th. This was to help prepare teams going into official ORTs that will be coming up over the next few months.

On March 1st - I did a special K9 Nose Work session at Waterford Union High School. This time we had the opportunity to search classrooms on the second floor as well as containers in a very unique hallway of the school. There were windows from floor to ceiling that looked down over the atrium. It was a great way to work dogs in a low distraction environment and teach them to stay on task. Plus, for the dogs that had issues with stairs and open stairwells, we were able to take time and work on those elements with the dogs to help build their confidence. When going to a trial, one never knows what type of environment we will encounter. The more we can work the dogs in a variety of environments, the more confident the dogs will be. For anyone who wanted to give their dog the experience to ride an elevator, they had the opportunity to do that as well.

I was asked to speak at a local business club meeting on March 10th. That was interesting for me to do, as I was speaking primarily about the business aspects of owning a dog training facility, rather than speaking about actual dog training.

On March 13th I held a FAREWELL-TO-WINTER Games event. This was a fun way of proofing dogs' obedience skills in a challenging way. The first event was Musical Chairs - the dogs and handlers had to circle around the chairs movin' and groovin' to Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog". Congratulations to Cindy Nelson and Moose, the Bernese Mountain Dog. They were the last ones to get the coveted single seat.

The second game was the Snowball Retrieve for the fastest recall. Angela Tojek and Mindy, the rescue German Shepherd won that event with a recall time of 5.66 seconds after getting the plush snowball and racing back to Angela.

Game three was the Snow Angels. Each dog was cued to go into a sit or down position. Each dog had to maintain that position for at least 30 seconds while their handlers lie on the floor pretending to make snow angels. Team Mindy won that event with never breaking her sit. It was a showdown between Ralph Sander and Daisy and Angela and Mindy. Daisy broke her sit once Ralph sat up. Mindy stayed sitting until Angela released her. Good dogs!

On to the third game: Snow Shoeing (nice leash walking). Each participant tied cardboard snowshoes on to Angela Tojek, still wearing her cardboard snow shoes and Mindy after the Show Shoeing Eventtheir shoes and had to follow a heeling pattern while the dog had to stay in heel position, without pullilng or corrections by the handler. Once again, Team Mindy won! Mindy stayed in perfect heel position with a straight sit at Angela's side at the end. Nice job!

The final event of the evening was Wilderness Hiking (Call-offs using a verbal cue with dogs on a long line). Each pooch was attached to a 15 foot long line. Out on the floor were a "hibernating Care Bear"; a racoon huddled in a Juicy Fruit box and lone wolf, lounging in the center of the floor. As each dog pulled toward the critters, the handlers were to call their dogs off, using only a verbal cue.  Mindy relinquished each critter without going back to them, even with walking within a few feet of them, she focused completely on Angela! Great way to work distractions! The winners of the whole night were Team Mindy!

These were challenging events the dogs were not used to. It was fun and playful for them, but also a good test to see how the individual dogs worked through a variety of distractions.

Many laughs were had and was a very nice way to say "Farewell Winter!" We are all ready for spring! Time to start working on the next fun event.

Come to Elkhorn High School in Elkhorn, WI on April 18th for the Pet Wellness Expo. Paws-A-Tive Choice will have a booth there. Stop by and say HI!

On April 19th, I will be at the Bark for Life event at Waterford Union High School from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. demonstrating K9 Nose Work. This event is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. More information will be posted for folks who want to sign up and donate to this very important cause.

As always, stay pawsative and keep training happy!

Kathy

Saturday
Jan242015

A Day in the Life of a Deputy Sheriff and His K-9 Partner Part 2

Last week, I posted my experience about my ride-along with Deputy Ed Drewitz and K-9 Friday. This week, I'm sharing my second ride along experience with Racine County Deputy Sheriff David Fisher and K-9 Murphy. This was a third shift ride along.

Deputy Dave Fisher and K-9 MurphyDeputy Dave Fisher was a Criminal  Justice major at UW Platteville. His first job was a youth counselor at the WI DIV of Juvenile Corrections. He was a Corrections Officer in Walworth County and is now entering his 18th year as a Deputy Sheriff with Racine County. Some other hats he's worn are on Racine Sheriff's Office third shift patrol; Field Training Officer; Evidence Technician; 15 yrs on SWAT as an Assistant Team Leader and now a Team Leader. Deputy Dave is a Firearms Instructor; Rifle Instructor; Taser Instructor;  Defense and Arrest Tactics (DAAT) Instructor; Principles of Subject Control (POSC) Instructor; Ground Fighting Instructor; Professional Communications Instructor; Ethics and Ethical Decision Making Instructor and has  attended multiple Team Commander Tactical trainings (how to run, plan, and train for SWAT situations). Deputy Fisher teaches at Gateway Technical College in the Law Enforcement and Jail Academy levels and is an active K-9 officer with his K-9 partner, Murphy for Racine County. They have been an active team since November 2013. Murphy is  a  2 1/2 year old German shepherd. He is a drug, criminal apprehension, tracking, and article retrieve dog. Murphy has advanced training in scent specific tracking/urban tracking.

Deputy Dave and I were on our way to the Sheriff's Patrol Station for that evening's roll call when the first call of the night came in. A pregnant woman was concerned she was having contractions. We were first on the scene before the ambulance arrived. Deputy Dave was very kind and soft spoken as he waited with the mother-to-be for the ambulance to arrive. Once the woman was safely in the ambulance, we went to the Sheriff's Patrol Station for the third shift roll call. This is a brief meeting with all deputies on duty to discuss cases that have come in as well as touch on any pending cases.

Deputy Dave and K-9 Murphy patrol what is considered the "middle interior". We patrolled part of I94 but also the highways in central Racine County, such as Hwy 20; Hwy 11; Hwy 75 and  Hwy K.

Murphy is another playful and friendly K-9 officer. When he wasn't out patrolling the property of a school or golf course, he was sitting or lying contently in the squad car.

It was a cold night, by my standards with temperatures in the low 20s, but Deputy Dave thought it was relatively mild, as we had just encountered that bitterly cold polar vortex that gave us nightly temperatures dipping below zero.

One of Deputy Dave's and Murphy's duties is to patrol some of the area schools. He and Murphy walk the grounds, checking doors and looking for any suspicious activity. We walked the grounds around the Yorkville Elementary School, checking the premises as Murphy had his nose to the ground, taking in odors from the environment. All was clear; no issues found.

As we drove the highways, Deputy Dave was very astute with all the vehicles on the road; checking license plates and observing driving habits of those on the road. For  third shift, it was a relatively quiet evening.

At about 3 a.m., Deputy Dave and K-9 Murphy were called for back-up. Another unit had pulled over a vehicle on I94 for erratic driving and open intoxicants in the car. Once  again, lights and sirens were turned on as we made our way to assist the sergeant on call.  

Upon arrival, Deputy Dave approached the Racine County Sergeant who made the traffic stop. Now that his back-up arrived, he had all three men step out of the vehicle. Beer bottles were taken from the car, some empty, others half full. All three men were lined up on the right shoulder as the sergeant questioned them. Because of the open intoxicants and erratic behavior of the driver, Deputy Dave was asked to bring K-9 Murphy out to search the car. The sergeant had smelled marijuana as the three occupants opened their doors.

For the K-9s, this is purely a game for them. Murphy knew his game was on, as he became very excited when Deputy Dave came back to the squad to attach his working gear. Murphy did a thorough search but did not alert on the car. As soon as Murphy was done thoroughly searching, Deputy Dave went into a complete reward system of playing with him with his toy. It is very important to keep the dogs interested in their work, as for them, half the enjoyment is getting to do the search and then get rewarded for a job well done, whether they alert on illegal substances or not.

One of the men in the car had an arrest warrant for him, so another deputy sheriff was called to the scene. This man was arrested and taken to the Racine County Jail. The driver, who had been driving erratically on the Interstate, underwent a complete sobriety test. The sergeant continued to ask the men if they had any illegal substances in the car or on them. They admitted to smoking marijuana in the car two days prior and that's why the odor had lingered.

Watching a sobriety test was very much like what we see on television. Deputy Dave and K-9 Murphy stayed off to the side where the man who was not being tested, waited. The driver was clearly nervous, especially with having Murphy there. He was afraid to move and the sergeant reassured him that Murphy was not going to do anything unless he provoked him. The driver went through the sobriety test and passed. After they drove away, we left and continued our patrol as we made our way back toward the Sub Station.Kathy and Murphy at the end of the 3rd Shift Ride-Along

As a professional dog trainer, it made me smile when I watched Deputy Drewitz and Deputy Fisher work with their K-9 partners. When they stopped people for various traffic violations, they were serious about their job, but friendly. As soon as they brought out their K-9 partners, I saw a happy and playful side to each of them as they rewarded their dogs with a lot of praise and play at the end of each search they did. The bond between these men and their dogs is very strong and the dogs clearly have an affection toward their handlers.

At the very end of the shift, I was treated to a tour of the SWAT room where some of the gear is kept for the SWAT team. Taking a close look at the armored vests and helmets the team members wear, truly gave me a heightened appreciation for what these people do.

Our last stop was the building where the heavy-duty vehicles are kept. Large armored, militarized vehicles that can be used in emergency situations such as riots; massive machines that the sheer sight of them would make people flee.

Although it was a night shift, my energy level never faded. As night turned into day, I had experienced just one day and one night of two separate Racine County Sheriff  Deputies. They don't have an easy job. Even if by their standards it's a "slow day" or a "slow night", they were always on the move. There was no down time. They had to be visually and mentally alert at all times. I was amazed at what they could spot on the roads. I thought I was perceptive, but I quickly realized I would not match up to either of these experienced men.

Both of these ride-alongs were extremely enjoyable for me. I'm a dog lover, through and through andMurphy getting a drink at the Sheriff's Patrol Station that's why I chose the profession of dog training. I had so much fun interacting with K-9s Friday and Murphy. When they weren't working, they were highly social, playful dogs willing to give lots of kisses and ready to play at a moment's notice. But when they were taken out of the squad car, they knew they were on the job and each dog was ready to work.

In a time where law enforcement continues to be challenged by protestors, it's time that these men and women are also acknowledged for all the good they do. Every time they leave for work, they are putting their own lives on the line. How tragic that there has been a horrific spree of innocent police officers being assassinated while sitting in their patrol cars.

The next time you see a law enforcement officer, thank them for what they do. Going for a ride-along was an enjoyable experience for me, but I can honestly say that it is not a profession I could pursue. It is highly dangerous with not many accolades. Any appreciation that is shown by civilians always means a lot to these men and women.

Most of the time the community does not hear about what the law enforcement agents contend with, unless it's something major. However, every time these men and women step out of their squad cars, it is unknown to them whether it's going to be a routine traffic stop or escalate into something more serious.

A slow day or slow night on a shift is always a good thing.

The Racine County K-9 Units function completely on donations. Fundraisers are held throughout the year to assist with the living expenses and medical care for these fine dogs. Tax payer dollars are not used to pay for any of those expenses. If you would like to contribute funds, please send them to: Racine County K-9 Unit Fund * 717 Wisconsin Ave. * Racine, WI 53403

Saturday
Jan172015

A Day in the Life of a Deputy Sheriff & His K9 Partner Part 1

Not too many people get the opportunity to ride along on a shift with a law-enforcement officer. As partKathy and K-9 Friday of a fundraiser that took place on November 1, 2014 for the Racine County K-9 Units, I attended the Policeman's Ball and bid on two ride-alongs to benefit the K-9 units in Racine County.

One of the types of training I teach is K9 Nose WorkTM. I like to describe it as the "civilian side" of what professional odor detection dogs do. Law Enforcement dogs are trained to search and scent for illegal substances and dangerous materials. Our dogs, trained in K9 Nose WorkTM  is a fun sport where they learn to search and find target odors. As a Certified Canine Nose Work Instructor, I teach dogs to locate the odors Birch, Anise and Clove. (These are the odors that are used in K9 Nose WorkTM competitions through the National Association of Canine Scent Work.)

I've seen demonstrations many times of police dogs working, but I never was able to see them actually work real life scenarios. Now I had an incredible opportunity to witness two K-9 teams on the job.

My first ride-along was November 26, 2014 with Deputy Ed Drewitz and K-9 Friday. Deputy Drewitz has been a Racine County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sheriff since April 1996. He currently works the I-94 Corridor where he and K-9 Friday are often involved in open air sniffs around vehicles stopped along the Interstate and are suspected of carrying illegal street drugs. Drewitz has been working the I-94 Corridor for over 10 years and has made tens of thousands of traffic stops and hundreds of drug arrests by doing open air sniffs with K-9 Friday.

Deputy Drewitz and K-9 Friday attended the Southern Police Canine Inc. in North Carolina in April 2012 and successfully completed the 6 week program. They are certified in drug detection, building and area searches, apprehension, and article/evidence searching. K-9 Friday and Drewitz routinely conduct drug detection trainings while on duty to maintain and improve proficiency. They also train on a weekly basis (7 hours) with other K-9 handlers in the surrounding area.  Friday is trained to detect illegal drugs and their derivatives including: marijuana, cocaine, cocaine base, heroin, Ecstasy and methamphetamine.

K-9 Friday, a German Shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix has been trained to detect the odor of illegal drugs emanating from (but not limited to); outside/inside of vehicles, lockers, luggage, packages, as well as residential and commercial structures. He receives ongoing training where no illegal drugs or their odor are present. He also has continual extinction training which proofs the dog and prevents him from alerting on common items associated with illegal drugs. The items include but are not limited to such things as plastic bags, latex gloves, tug toys, U.S. currency, and dog food/treats.

Since Drewitz began working with K-9 Friday, he has annually obtained illegal drug detection certification with Master Trainer Mark Mills of Southern Police Canine to determine the proficiency and reliability of dogs in the detection of illegal drugs. They annually attend a three-day Wisconsin Law Enforcement Canine Handlers Association training conference. K-9 Friday has consistently demonstrated reliability in certification, training, and field deployments.

When Friday encounterDeputy Ed Drewitz and K-9 Fridays certain drugs, specifically heroin, cocaine, and marijuana, methamphetamine, and ecstasy… Friday gives what is known as an alert that consists of a change in his breathing and aggressive scratching. Through Deputy Drewitz's training and experience with Friday,  he is aware of these unique behavior patterns exhibited by his canine partner that constitutes an alert and he is able to recognize those alerts when they occur.

The ride-along I did with Deputy Ed and Friday was first shift. The area we patrolled was the I94 corridor in Racine County. It was a fantastic educational experience for me. The first stop of the morning was a vehicle speeding at 80 mph in a 65 mph speed zone. The way Deputy Ed is able to track the vehicles is by using a laser gun. Lasers can detect speeds of vehicles over 1000 feet away. These instruments are used in high volume traffic areas because it can only detect one vehicle at a time.

This takes a trained eye to use, as Deputy Ed was watching all the vehicles headed in our direction. When he saw a vehicle that appeared to be going faster than the others, he would target that specific vehicle and was able to obtain an accurate speed resulting in a traffic violation.

Radars have a different technical spectrum and are used in lower traffic volume areas. Radars catch everything in its "cone". It can detect multiple vehicles, which means the law enforcement officer has to have a very keen eye as to which vehicle the radar picked up.

As I learned from spending the day with Deputy Ed and Friday, routine traffic stops can lead to much bigger things. I'll get to that in a moment.

After a couple of hours on the Interstate, we headed to the Racine County Courthouse, as Deputy Ed was subpoenaed to possibly testify on a drug case that he and K-9 Friday had made an arrest on a couple of weeks prior.

That was quite the experience in itself. We headed down to the lower level of the courthouse where Felony Court is held. As we approached the courtroom, on one side, the benches were lined with law-enforcement officers, waiting to take the stand on various cases. On the other side were suspects waiting with their legal counsel; some in orange jumpsuits, wearing hand and ankle cuffs. I could feel myself starting to draw within. It was a bit daunting as I tried to not look at the suspects awaiting their hearings.

We went into the packed courtroom and listened to a few of the preliminary hearings. I've served on juries before, but had not attended a preliminary hearing. Deputy Ed did not have to testify, as there was enough evidence provided and the judge made it quite clear to the suspects that he had zero tolerance when it came to drugs. He denied all requests put forth by the defending attorneys and we were free to go.

As we were headed west bound on Hwy 20, I assumed we were going back to the Sheriff's Patrol Station, also referred to as the "Sub Station". To my amazement,  Deputy Ed made a U-turn just before the patrol station and I asked where we were going. He said he spotted a vehicle without a front license plate. That is illegal in the state of Wisconsin.

We quickly turned the squad car around and headed northbound on I94. Lights and sirens turned on. The car in pursuit was driving very fast on the Interstate. Even with the lights and sirens on, some drivers were oblivious and did not move over. Deputy Ed proved to be an excellent driver as he maneuvered through traffic, going at a high speed to catch up to the vehicle with no license plate. Once we caught up to them, they pulled over along the median concrete wall, which is typically not the proper place when being stopped. Drivers are always to pull over to the far right shoulder.

As Deputy Ed slowly approached the vehicle, I was able to witness just how dangerous his job can be. Cars were speeding by on the right side of the vehicle and the concrete divider was along the driver's side door making it more of a challenge to talk with the people in the car.


He obtained the license from the 20 year old driver. From using a very detailed computDeputy Ed and K-9 Friday doing a Vehicle Searcher network of  information, he learned the driver had a criminal record and he had no insurance. Back-up was called, as Deputy Ed cannot transport suspects in his squad due to having K-9 Friday. Once back-up arrived, the three young men stepped out of the vehicle. Deputy Ed spotted marijuana flake on the floor of the car. This was enough evidence to have K-9 Friday come out to do a vehicle search. Deputy Ed walked Friday methodically around the car. He indicated at the trunk as well as the driver's side door. Friday then searched the interior, but did not alert on anything. The only thing found was the marijuana flake on the floor of the driver's side. Marijuana flake is exactly what it sounds like. Very small flakes of marijuana that is often left behind when users are preparing the marijuana to smoke. This traffic stop did not result in an arrest.

I had a very special opportunity to see the 911 Dispatch Area. If one ever wonders what a call center looks like for 911 dispatch, this particular room was filled with computer screens manned with highly trained personnel; calls coming in - one after another. Each person taking the 911 calls were calm and informed of how to handle every scenario. This is not a job for every person. As I listened to some of the calls coming in and how the dispatcher was handling it, it was evident of just how stressful that job is. I commend and appreciate what these people do.

Deputy Ed treated me to a short demonstration of how Friday tracks a suspect. Another deputy sheriff from his department participated in the demo. He went about 100 yards away and hid behind a building with Friday's toy. Deputy Ed then came out with Friday on a tracking line and cued Friday to search. Friday took a direct path in the direction the deputy sheriff had gone and Friday found him immediately. Upon the success of finding him, the deputy sheriff rewarded Friday with his toy and did a fun round of tug-o-war which is a favorite game of Friday's.

The last traffic stop of the day resulted in an arrest. Deputy Ed spotted a car with illegally tinted windows. He pulled the driver over and used a Tint Meter on the windows. Only 25% of light was passing through. The driver had a suspended license and no insurance. On top of this driver's issues, we learned there was also a warrant out for his arrest for disorderly conduct.

Back up was called again and the driver was taken under arrest and transported to the Racine County Jail.

Deputy Ed with his K-9 Crime Fighting Partner and Companion, FridayThere was no down time during the entire shift. We were constantly on the move. The thing that truly amazed me was how aware Deputy Ed was of his entire surroundings. He has a very trained eye and saw things that I was completely unaware of. It takes years of training and experience to do what Deputy Ed is doing. His K-9 partner, Friday was very well trained and such a great dog. When Friday wasn't working, he was just as playful and content as a family companion dog. The bond between Deputy Drewitz and Friday was evident of how strong it is. They are partners on the job, but first and foremost, they are best friends.

Part 2 I will share my experience with my Third Shift Ride-Along with Deputy Dave Fisher and K-9 Murphy.

If you would like to make a contribution to help the K-9 Unit, please send to: Racine County K-9 Unit Fund * 717 Wisconsin Avenue * Racine, WI 53403

Until next time, stay pawsative, stay safe and always train happy!

Kathy

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