- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 9, 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - King legally immigrated here from Germany earlier this year, and he recently settled into his new job on Purdue University’s campus.

King, a 17-month-old Dutch shepherd trained to detect drugs and apprehend those not wanting to be arrested, doesn’t speak English, per se. But he does understand the language of his native country, and like all police dogs, knows the familiar bouncing tennis ball that - in the dog’s mind - magically appears when the pooch does what he’s supposed to do.

Purdue police Officer Kevin Balzer said after King arrived in the United States about three months ago, the dog spent about eight weeks at Vohne Liche Kennels.

“We completed a six-week … course,” Balzer said of his and King’s time at the Denver, Ind., kennel that is well known for preparing police dogs for their service.

“We started (patrolling) July 1, as soon he graduated,” Balzer said, “As soon as we got certified from Vohne Liche, he’s certified to patrol, so we started working the next weekend.”

Purdue Police Chief John Cox said the prosecutor’s office provided the $15,500 needed to bring King here and train him.

“It’s an investment in the community. It’s an investment in public safety,” Cox said of the cost of buying and training King and the other K9s.

The Purdue police dogs, including King, also help other local police agencies if they ask for assistance.

Tippecanoe County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Kristen McVey said that drug detecting police dogs are valuable to the community and the prosecutor’s office is pleased to help departments get a K9.

King joins Purdue K9s Macho, which is trained in explosive detection, and Paco, which is a drug detecting and apprehension dog like King.

King replaces Vara, a German shepherd that joined Purdue police in October 2012. Although a police dog’s average span of duty is about seven years, cancer cut short Vara’s time at Purdue. She died in April, Cox said.

Balzer had been Vara’s partner during the four years she was with the Purdue police.

Cox presented Balzer and Lt. Anthony Standifer with plaques commemorating their police dogs - Balzer’s former dog, Vara, and Standifer’s dog, Nicky, which was the department’s first police dog.

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Source: (Lafayette) Journal and Courier, https://on.jconline.com/2aYMQ5p

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