Bismarck PD Focuses On K9 Unit - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Bismarck PD Focuses On K9 Unit

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The Bismarck Police Department is training on a different breed of police officer. Right now, two dogs serve on the K-9 unit.

Meet Oscar.

This dog is a police officer's best friend.

"I'm extremely proud of this dog. I trust him more than anybody else, and he's never let me down. He's never had a moment when I've felt ashamed of being a handler or ashamed to call him my partner," says canine handler Tim Sass.

Oscar is a certified police officer. He can sniff out drugs, search a crime scene or protect his partner.

"They're able to detect some of the narcotic odors that we train on. And then, the other side is they're a patrol dog, which is the part of the bite function," says Sass.

Luna is also police officer.

"Well, Luna's a working dog. That's about all she likes to do, really, is work, work, work," says Sgt. Chad Fetzer.

This highly decorated officer brought home the top dog trophy from her most recent competition. The success of these dogs inspired one officer to seek training that could help expand the K-9 force.

"'Is there weapons instructors in Bismarck?' Well, of course! 'Then why are there no K-9 instructors in the state?' And that's kind of what I used to justify getting me out there, taking on the responsibility, making sure these guys are up to standards. If they have any issues, we can work them out, make them better," says Sgt. Lyle Sinclair.

He says its not very common to have a trainer in a department, but it should be, because these dogs can be lifesavers in emergency situations.

"Everything on our belt can be taken away from us and used against us. You try to take away Chad's dog or Tim's dog, that's not going to go good trying to take the dog away, for one. And two, you can't use it against the officers," says Sinclair.

Bismarck has had a K-9 unit since 1976. It's the longest continually-running unit in the state.

Sinclair is volunteering to be a K-9 trainer for units across the state, thanks to an oil impact grant. He says it will help save thousands of dollars that would have been spent on out-of-state training.
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