K-9 Officers practice scenarios

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

(WEAU) Onalaska- Police K-9’s and their handlers came from all around Western Wisconsin, and Minnesota to train in real life scenarios.

It was an intensive training using old abandoned buildings in Onalaska.

Officer John West and his K-9 Lesan were one of the 20 teams that showed up for the training. Lesan seemed especially excited to show what he could do.

“This has got to be such a fun thing for him to do. He knows when he gets to go in there and find people. The adrenaline is... well, you can hear him right now," said West.

West and Lesan have been together for three years. They have been through a lot together.

“We’ve gone into so many calls, and so many high stress factors. The dog has saved my life so many times," said West.

These dogs are high drive dogs that have been trained to be controlled in intense situations, but they also become part of the family.

“I have 4 children. The dog is in the house; my past dog was in the house, it's part of the family," said Trace Erickson, President of the United States K-9 Association.

“Jack’s with me 24-7. He comes home with me, he’s been incorporated into the house, and he’s part of the family," said Dan McCluskey, an Onalaska K-9 Patrol Officer.

The teams had three different scenarios that they faced. Each with unique challenges such as smoke, and finding people through trap doors.

No two dogs were the same.

“You have dogs at all different levels. Some have 5 year of training, some have two years like my dog," said Erickson.

These dogs will be trained to serve multiple purposes.

“Some are explosive certified, they know how to do bomb searchs. We have some dogs with Minnesota DNR that will search for animals.
These guys are the best of the best that are chosen to be K-9," said Erickson.

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