Fraser-Winter Park Police Officer Brett Schroetlin has a new police canine, Argo, a 3-year-old German shepherd.
Argo is now on patrol with him in Winter Park and Fraser. Schroetlin recently retired Astra, his first police canine, due to medical issues.
"Argo is essentially a locating tool. He can locate people and drugs," Schroetlin said.
Argo is command-driven and his commands are in German. He is certified by the National Police Canine Association, which is the national standard for police dogs.
In order to stay in-tune, Argo and Brett go to weekly training classes to keep their skill level up to standards. Police canines are trained in extensive obedience, and include on-and off-leash control, human and canine socialization, and agility such as accessing windows, stairs, and obstacles.
For the dog, it's fun for them to perform their duties, said Schroetlin.
"While we are still considered a safe community, we are not exempt from crime and the new trends that join it, and thus we must take a proactive stance to keep our community the way we like it: crime-free," said Schroetlin in a letter regarding the program.
"It has been shown that the mere presence of a Police K-9 within a community has significantly reduced the amount of criminal activity within an area. Also, a K-9 will reduce the amount of man-hours needed to search a building, an area, or a vehicle, and will do so more safely and efficiently."
Some of the Argo's tasks will include tραχκινγ humans through a combination of scent and ground disturbance. Tracking is used mostly in locating and following a suspect's trail from the scene of a crime and can be used for lost or missing children and adults.
Argo can also perform narcotic searches and will be able to locate the odor of any illegal substance. Other tasks include open area searches to find firearms and other dangerous items, apprehending fleeing suspects, and searching buildings.
Police canines have a remarkable sense of smell, hearing, and sight, along with their agility, versatility, stamina, and speed. These dogs have 300 olfactory nerve endings in their noses compared to just seven in the human nose, and their hearing is believed to be about 25 times better than a human.
Schroetlin and Argo are available for demos and presentations at community events and schools. Contact the Fraser-Winter Park Police Department for more information, 970-722-7779.