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Police use sensors to keep K9s cool in summer heat

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:33 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Mandan police dogs Cooper and Medve are a vital part of the force.

“Whether it’s doing free air sniffs on vehicles or room searches, stuff like that for narcotic work. Next month for certifications after that, he’ll be able to start clearing residents, tracking felony suspects, stuff like that,” said K9 officer Leo Belgarde.

They ride with officers who train them and work to keep them safe.

“At the end of the day, it’s my decision to deploy the dog, use the dog and to keep him safe in a sense,” added Belgarde.

Officers have to stay tuned in.

“I read him and understand his behavior, and whether he’s getting either stressed or something of that sort then I can hopefully push down the situation to keep him and I in check,” said K9 officer Makayla Westgard.

They also watch out for their furry partners in the summer heat.

Temperatures are rising outside and inside a car it can be even hotter.

Mandan’s K9 unit has a solution; vehicles stay running and have specialized sensors that manage the temperature.

“An alarm goes off. My sirens, my lights, everything goes off so I know that it’s too hot and I can come get him out of the car,” said Westgard.

And sometimes the dogs have a say as well.

“He likes to come through his door and get my attention by hitting my siren with his paw,” said Belgarde.

Officers say they haven’t had any close calls with the heat but have tested the sensors. They say they’ll do anything for their dogs.

“I don’t view it as work. To me it’s the best job in law enforcement. You get to train a dog, you get to bond with a dog, and it’s family, you know,” added Belgarde.

Medve and Cooper are enjoying the dog days of summer.

Officers say that while their cars are equipped to protect their working animals, it is important for residents to keep pets out of hot cars. Mandan Police Department has had several calls for animals left in hot cars this summer.

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