The two young dogs are the newest members of the Worcester Police Department’s four-legged patrol team. The K-9 Unit now boasts four dogs.
The two Malinois dogs did their thing Friday afternoon for a small gathering of media and city officials, accompanied by their handlers – Dan Pennellatore with Beebs, who is about 1 ½ years old, and Mark Jolin with Elvis, who is a little over 1 year old. On display were their scent-sniffing skills as well as their role in catching a suspect.
The dogs completed a 14-week patrol course at the Boston Police K-9 Academy, according to Sgt. Tim Watts, who himself has a bomb dog, Django. The WPD’s other K-9 is Ellmar.
The dogs are, “a great tool to keep officers safe,” Watts said. “They have a great presence. Again, having dogs so well-trained and in control makes all these high-risk calls a lot safer.”
Police Chief Steve Sargent said the trend in law enforcement has been to train K-9 units as patrol dogs, not in just one specialty right out of the gate.
“What we’re doing here,” Sargent said, “is getting more bang for the buck. The trend is to train them as patrol dogs, but then you specialize them in narcotics. The old days of just training them in narcotics is a waste. They should be working, they want to work. They don’t want to be sitting in a car … They want to be out on patrol, walking the foot beats.”
Beebs, the chief said, will be heading to narcotics school within the next couple weeks.
Among the city officials on hand were City Manager Ed Augustus Jr. and At-Large Councilor Mike Gaffney, who is credited with pushing for the additional K-9 units.
Walter Bird Jr. is editor of Worcester Magazine. Share story tips and comments at 508-749-3166, ext. 322, or by email at email@example.com. Follow Walter on Twitter @walterbirdjr and “like” him on Facebook. Don’t miss Walter every week on WCCA TV 194 as a panelist on Rosen’s Roundtable.