Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Lodi police dog Kael completes in annual police dog trial

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Saturday, September 7, 2013 10:33 pm

Sixteen dogs and their police officer handlers tested their skills against one another in the 10th Annual Art O’Keefe Memorial K9 Trials at Zupo Field in Lodi on Saturday. 

Among them was 5-year-old Kael and his handler, Lodi Police Officer Ryan LaRue. LaRue has raised Kael since the dog was eight weeks old. They spend four hours in official training mode each week, but the work continues with training exercises LaRue runs at home. Kale, a Belgian Malinois, has been certified as a working police dog for two and half years. He is the only K9 on Lodi’s force to be dual certified in sniffing out narcotics and in protection. 

LaRue’s journey to becoming the human half of a K9 team took much longer.  As a kid, LaRue remembers watching “K9 Cop,” a James Belushi film that came out in 1989 and sparked his desire to earn that rank himself. Several years of training later, and dozens of hours spent in heavy bite-proof suits, LaRue is one of three K9 officers in Lodi. 

These days, Kael keeps busy by chasing after suspects who flee from cars, and holding them down until his partner can catch up to make the arrest. 

Six weeks ago, Kael sniffed out a smudge of black tar heroin on the floorboards of a suspicious car LaRue had pulled over, and alerted officers to a compartment in the trunk with more drug paraphernalia. 

“Having the dog definitely helps narrow down searches,” said LaRue. Kael is trained to find marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and ecstasy. 

One challenge with the breed is their energy. Honing that intensity and directing it onto one particular target is a skill Kael is still refining. 

During the protection phase of the trials, the dog was meant to attack one man who shot off a starter pistol. But Kael was distracted by the crowd, the multiple men in bite guard suits on the baseball field, and the noises coming from the Grape Bowl during a youth football game. 

He went after the wrong man, but got in a good bite. For the dog, that’s the reward at the end. 

The agility trial is where Kael showed off his best skills. He clambered through a tube, under a bar and across a wobbly wooden bridge before leaping over a six foot wall and through a makeshift window. Though the Lodi dogs do have an advantage: It’s the same course they use in training. 

“It’s just fun to let him do what he’s good at,” said LaRue. 

The events also took dogs through a human search, trying to determine which of five porta-potties a volunteer was hiding in, and a short obedience routine. On Friday night, a different group of K9s met at the Geweke RV sales parking lot for a stage of narcotics searches. 

When he’s not working, LaRue says Kael is the most sociable of Lodi’s dogs. 

“It’s like an on-off switch. He allows kids to sit with him,” said LaRue. “He’ll lay on the floor and let them do whatever to him.” 

Contact reporter Sara Jane Pohlman at sarap@lodinews.com.

More about

More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don't pretend you're someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don't insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.

Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • Keith Colgan posted at 9:01 am on Sun, Sep 8, 2013.

    Keith Colgan Posts: 29

    See photos of the event here:
    http://lodi360.smugmug.com/Events/Lodi-Police-K-9-Competition

     

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

Total Votes: 80

Loading…

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists