Minutes of the Second Precinct Advisory Council. Meeting of June 8, 2015.
- Summary: A presentation on K-9s was made with lots of Q and A.
- Bike thefts are up as it is summer. Be sure to lock up.
Start: 6:14 pm
Introductions: 22 in attendance
Minutes: April minutes approved
Treasurer’s report: $783.84
Sgt. Andy Stender of the Minneapolis Police Dept. K9 Unit and his partner, Nash.
Sgt. Stender is one of two sergeants of this unit, which totals 16 person and dog teams. There are usually two teams on duty 24/7, working on 4-week rotations. Emergencies and events may need additional teams. The teams are not assigned to any precinct, but go where they most needed.
The dogs are shepherds (German, Dutch or Belgian), malinois and mal-shep cross-bred dogs. As they are now bred, the malinois have more energy and drive, which is why the unit is adding more of them. Successful dogs are bred for the purpose; the best come from European breeders who focus on developing the blood lines for healthy physique, high intelligence, social ability, focus, drive, and stamina. Currently the MPD buys from three different European breeders through a broker. American breeders don’t produce equally reliable dogs.
Dogs cost about $6500 each, and are paid for solely by the Minneapolis Police K-9 Foundation through t-shirt sales and donations. FFI, see their page: http://www.mplspolicek9foundation.org/ Funding is always an issue with this unit; MPD does not attend national competitions because there is no funding for it. While $6500 buys a candidate, a trained dog is worth at least three times the amount. Causing “great bodily harm or death” to a Police Dept dog (or horse) is charged as a felony.
Some dogs don’t work out for a variety of reasons. They may not pass certification. Maybe the dog just doesn’t fit in. Because the dogs are sold under warranty, they are returned for replacement. Be assured there is a long list of people already waiting for a returned dog.
Dogs are brought into the program at 12-16 months old, though an occasional dog may begin at a younger age. Initial training for street skills lasts 12 weeks. If they pass the test for street preparedness, they can begin practicing on the street. All dogs get ongoing training once a week, thereafter. About a year in, they can be certified and will then begin special training in either explosive or narcotics detection. Sgt. Stender’s partner, Nash, has advanced training in explosive detection and is a member of the SWAT team. A dog’s career typically lasts 8 to 9 years and they generally retire because of physical issues like arthritis. Retired dogs live at home with their partner.
Certification: Minneapolis certifies its own dogs and also dogs from other cities. The certification test has 700 points; 490 is a passing grade. Minneapolis dogs test at 600 or better to be kept in our K-9 unit.
Dogs in action: Dogs are deployed at the handler’s discretion. Officers must always remember that their partner dog is primarily a tool whose primary function is to protect humans. A dog can also do some things a human can’t do, especially tasks that depend on scent, spotting, and rapid chase for “catch and hold”. Dogs can be deployed for gross misdemeanor and felony investigations. They are generally NOT used when juveniles are involved or when there is not much perceived danger to humans.
On a “dog call” involving more than one team, the teams back each other up. One may start to tire while the next team is fresher. Also, a dog may give a signal the handler will miss, but another handler spots the dog’s signal. The K-9 teams receive between 2000 and 3000 calls a year. Sgt. Stender expects his teams to “get the burglar”.
The unit is experienced in dealing with dog death. Most dogs die in retirement but some dogs die on the job. For some human officers, it’s “one and done.” Other officers want another dog soon. Each officer’s needs are respected.
Miscellanea: The dogs’ diets are watched by a U of MN veterinary nutritionist. Right now the dogs are eating Science Diet, Eukanuba, and Natural Balance. Most dogs get one feeding a day, as much as they need to keep a good weight. Extra weight on a physically active dog is too hard on their joints and they’d “wear down” too young. Nash is 74 pounds at 6 years and eats about 6 cups, most of it at the end of the day. The MPD only has males but other cities have successful female Police Dept. dogs. The difficulty is having both in the same unit; it’s easier to avoid issues than it is to deal with them.
Dog rewards: How do you reward a Police Dept. dog? It’s not food. You throw a ball! You play tug of war! They want MORE chase, find, retrieve! Their partner always carries a toy. Sgt. Stender emphasized these dogs never lose their drive. They want to work and then they want more work. When they are retired, they don’t want to stay home; they want to be in the squad car when they hear it pull out of the drive.
St. Stender’s tip for breaking up a dog fight or turning back an aggressive dog: CO-2 fire extinguishers. It’s not unusual for an officer (with or without a MPD K9) to find a someone’s pet dog running loose, challenging, biting out of fear or in defense. He blames the owners of the aggressors, and he wants to send the bullies home unhurt. CO-2 will do that.
For people who want to see these highly trained canines in action, there is a public demonstration in Elk River on June 28 at the Elk River High School Football Field, 6:30 pm.
Graduation is another time the public can see a demo. Graduations are held at the end of May and you’ll find next year’s advertised on the websites in this report.
There is a lot more information about these fascinating dogs at https://www.facebook.com/mpdpolicek9foundation (check out the smallest police K-9 who weights 6.8 pounds and lives in Ohio), and at the Foundation page, cited above.
SECOND PRECINCT CRIME TRENDS
More people are out on bikes and more bikes are being stolen. Officers find bikes that are probably stolen but people don’t have serial numbers or other identifying information so the bikes can’t be handed out. The best solution is to record your bike’s serial number and other identifying information.
As always, remember to lock doors and windows! Make it hard for burglars to get in and they’ll look for an easier target.
There were two robberies of businesses, in the Second Precinct, both before the places opened for the day.
Reminder: if something “doesn’t look right” phone and report it. Let the police figure out what priority the incident is suggesting.
Four people were removed from Courtwatch list on advice from the City Attorney.
Four people were added:
Christopher Perkins. 2nd Degree drug possession on May 20. 36th Ave NE at Buchanan St.
Henry Preston Oz-Storm. 2nd Degree Robbery on May 20. 36th Ave NE at Buchanan.
Raymond McParland. Disorderly conduct on May 16, at Logan Park
Antoine Evans. 1st Degree Aggravated Robbery on April 29. 1st Ave NE and 2nd Street.