- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - There’s a new member of the Flint police force, and he’s got a little bit of an obsession with squirrels.

“That’s one thing that he and I are working through,” said Flint police officer and K9 handler John Boismier Tuesday afternoon, as his new sidekick, Edo, didn’t stray his focus from a nearby squirrel. “And tomorrow we’ve got a training session on squirrels.”

Edo is a 4-year-old German Shepherd that is certified in human tracking, handler protection, area and article searching and suspect location through the National Association of Professional Canine Handlers. His detection work is in explosives, Boismier told The Flint Journal (https://bit.ly/1oQuRJJ ).

He also specializes in kisses.

“The chief comes out, and he always jumps up and tries to give the chief kisses,” Boismier said, laughing.

After years of training, and about a month of handler training where Boismier learned to read the dog’s body language, Edo finally began working Monday.

The Flint Police Department hasn’t had K9s since 2007, when then-mayor Don Williamson eliminated the program due to budget cuts. The program included four dogs: Artos, Nace, Nero and Snitch.

Already, Edo has been dispatched to track burglary, assault and armed robbery suspects. The dog was able to accurately - according to witnesses - track each person for several blocks, but eventually lost each scent and did not locate any suspects.

Boismier said there are a number of reasons he may have lost the scent - it could have been old or in a high-traffic area or the suspect could have been picked up in a vehicle.

“I always say that just because we have a dog doesn’t mean we have an ‘S’ on our chest or Wonderdog, but it kind of evens up the playing field a bit. It gives us a little more leverage to do the job,” Boismier said.

Edo was donated to the Flint Police Department by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Department of Public Safety in Manistee, Flint police said.

He lives with Boismier and his family so the pair can form a strong bond in order to work together effectively.

Boismier works with Edo on obedience around the clock, and feeds and brushes him as well. His food and medical care will be provided by Michigan State University Veterinary Services.

“He’s a work dog, but I’ve got an attachment to him,” Boismier said. “I imagine there’s handlers out there who think the dog is a tool, and that’s all they’re there for - that’s not me.”

Boismier said his wife is also a K9 handler in Port Huron, and is the one who inspired him to become one, too.

“When they’re at home, they’re our pets,” he said of the dogs.

The department is researching ways to secure grant funding to adopt a few more dogs, specifically those who specialize in narcotic detection. The goal is to have one dog on shift at all times, Boismier said.

“Almost every officer I’ve spoken with is just as thankful as I am that we have a chief that seems to be very aggressive in getting us the tools and equipment to fight crime and better protect and serve the citizens,” Boismier said.

But, for now, Boismier is just glad to have a partner with the utmost loyalty and a cuddly companion as well.

“When we drive to and from work in my personal car, I make him sit behind me,” he said, noting Edo would much prefer to sit in his lap. “You can see where my badge on my arm is starting to peel off - he puts his paw on my shoulder for pretty much the entire ride.”

___

Information from: The Flint Journal, https://www.mlive.com/flint

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide