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Dog on patrol

Kenai canine unit training for service

Posted: Thursday, April 19, 2007

 

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  Turnage and Chevron will head to Fairbanks next month for two months of additional training. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Kenai police officer Aaron Turnage loads his new partner, Chevron, into the back of Turnage's car behind the Kenai Police Department on Tuesday afternoon. The new dog will be used for patrol work and for narcotics searches.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Bad guys beware.

The Kenai Police Department’s new police dog has arrived from training in Holland. Soon it will be on the streets of Kenai helping police round up criminals.

Although “Chevron” -- named for the oil company that donated $15,000 toward the dog’s acquisition -- already has received advanced German schitzhund training in obedience, tracking and handler protection, he now must attend the canine academy in Fairbanks where he will be taught skills needed in his new line of work, according to Officer Aaron Turnage, Chevron’s handler.

During the 10-week academy training, presented by Alaska State Troopers, the 2-year-old German shepherd is to learn additional obedience, tracking and handler protection, as well as arrest and apprehension, building and area searches, evidence recovery and narcotics detection.

 

Turnage and Chevron will head to Fairbanks next month for two months of additional training.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Turnage said Chevron will be trained specifically to locate and identify cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, heroin and Ecstasy.

Other dogs in Chevron’s academy class will be a new trooper canine unit to be assigned to Anchor Point and trooper dogs heading to Palmer and Fairbanks as well as a police dog going to the Sitka Police Department.

Chevron currently is being kept at the Kenai Animal Control facility for a short bonding period with Turnage, and is expected to begin police ride-alongs with the officer this week, though he will not be performing actual police work.

When asked if he became involved with the canine unit due to an affinity for dogs or because he had prior dog handling experience, Turnage said the reason stemmed more from his interest in drug enforcement work.

“When I came here five years ago, I had a certain niche for finding drugs,” he said. “I started looking into how a dog could help and also how a dog could help find adults with Alzheimer’s Disease who go missing. I started researching the cost of a dog.”

He then presented his idea to police administrators and then to the city administration, both of which gave their approval.

“It’s going to open a lot of doors,” Turnage said.

“It’s going to allow us to do a lot of things we couldn’t do.”

In addition to the sizeable donation from Chevron USA, other donors who helped make the acquisition possible include ATEC/Fireweed Fence, Central Peninsula Crime Stoppers, Safeway, Three Bears, IGA Foods, Our Best Friends, Kenai Veterinary Hospital, Kenai Kennel Club, K9 Salon, Kenai Lions Club, Anchorage Police Department and Kenai attorney Phil Nash.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@peninsulaclarion.com.



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