Sheriff’s Corner: Introducing Ryker and Ranger, Cass County’s new K-9 officers

The Cass County Sheriff’s Office announces two new K-9s have recently joined the sheriff’s office patrol division. Through commitments from the Cass County Citizen Budget Committee, Cass County Board of Commissioners, Scott and Jane Stuart and a grant from the George Nielsen Foundation, funding was secured to purchase, outfit and train the new K-9s. Most of 2019 was spent rebuilding our K-9 Program, including locating the right dogs, purchasing equipment and extensive training. For the first time, we have two K-9 German shepherd dogs serving our county. These breeds are known for their incredible working ability, their desire to cooperate with their handlers, and, in some cases, their tenacity in fighting criminals. Some police dogs are single-purpose, meaning they have one task they perform. Others are dual-purpose, meaning they are trained to perform a variety of tasks.

K-9 Ryker is a 2 ½ year old purebred German shepherd from the Czech Republic and comes from a strong bloodline in law enforcement K-9s. K-9 Ryker came to the United States in March of 2019 and completed a 14-week academy with McDonough K-9 in Anoka. Deputy Ryan Huston is assigned as K-9 Ryker’s handler. K-9 Ryker is fully trained and certified as a dual-purpose K-9, which includes narcotics, tracking, apprehension and handler protection. K-9 Ryker and his handler began working on patrol in the Summer of 2019.

K-9 Ranger is a male German shepherd, assigned to Deputy Truitt Buckhouse. Ranger is also a dual-purpose dog, trained for multiple purposes. His primary responsibilities are drug detection and tracking. Ranger was born in 2016 in the Czech Republic. He was brought to McDonough K-9 in Anoka, where he received his training for law enforcement. Ranger and his handler began working on patrol in the Fall of 2019.

Police K-9 dogs can serve many purposes. The most popular discipline of the police dog is suspect apprehension. Police dogs are trained to bite dangerous suspects and hold them hostage. In many situations, they are the first ones to put their lives on the line and go in against an armed suspect to protect their human partners. They must be stable dogs, with the ability to know when someone is a threat and to act solely on the command and indication of their handler. Utilizing the dog’s unique sense of smell, they can be trained and used as a tool in detection for a variety of things. K-9s can be trained in detection of a variety of drugs, explosives or even accelerants in arson investigations.

Another important component of K-9 training is search and rescue. They are often used in searching for lost victims. They are able to cover miles quickly and efficiently, often in difficult terrain and conditions. The ability of dogs to cover large areas in a relatively short period of time provides a great resource when looking for victims. Although human searchers play an important role that can’t be replaced, search and rescue dogs are able to get the job done with unique precision.

The job of a K-9 handler deputy is unique and requires a lot of commitment. As the K-9 works with and lives with the handler and their family, it requires a special person to accept the dog into their life. In addition to daily patrol shift requirements and the initial training of the canine there are several ongoing commitments that occur daily, including care and feeding of the K-9, veterinary visits, equipment maintenance, on-going training and certification requirements.

Cass County is proud of its expanded K-9 program and recognizes that the use of K-9s is extremely efficient and effective in keeping our communities that we serve safe. We are pleased to introduce these new K-9s to you. In the coming weeks and months, they will make public appearances at events and in schools in an effort to introduce them to the public. These K-9s and their handlers have gone through intensive training and have made a commitment to public safety in Cass County.

If you have specific questions that you would like answered in this column or in person, please feel free to contact me anytime using one of the following methods: by email at tom.burch@co.cass.mn.us; by phone at 218-547-1424 or 800-450-2677; or by mail or in person at the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, 303 Minnesota Ave. W, P.O. Box 1119, Walker, MN, 56484.

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