A veteran road patrol sergeant has been selected as the Oregon Police Division’s first canine-handling officer.
Sgt. Jeff Martin, who has been an Oregon officer for 13 years, was selected from a field of five applicants, police Chief Mike Navarre told city council last week.
Sergeant Martin will be trained at Shallow Creek Kennels Inc., Sharpsville, Pa., from April 8 through May 17 and participate there in the selection of the dog, which will be a German shepherd, Belgian malinois, or Dutch shepherd. The sergeant will stay in Sharpsville during the week and return home on weekends.
“It takes a special person,” Chief Navarre said of his selection of Sergeant Martin.
Shallow Creek Kennels was judged the best facility for Oregon’s needs, he said, after researching it and other canine-training schools. A $15,000 donation from Toledo Refining Co. LLC will pay for the training and dog.
Oregon’s dog will be trained to detect human scents and drugs, but it will not be a dog that detects bombs. Given the proper command, it will be able to bring down a fleeing suspect, find someone in a building, or lead the way to a cache of narcotics.
Sergeant Martin, 38, said the dog would live with him.
Chief Navarre said he was impressed with the research Sergeant Martin did, the detailed proposal he submitted to apply for the position, and the fact he had worked with dogs before in the police academy. “Because we are starting a program from nothing, someone has to write the policies and procedures. He is best equipped to do this because of his knowledge and experience. The other candidates were good, but didn’t have what he did,” the chief said.
Sergeant Martin said the dog would come from Europe, probably Germany or the Czech Republic, where breeding and training standards are strict. He said he knew commands in German and would learn them in Czech if necessary.
“We help people, and the dog will help us do that,” he said.
— Carl Ryan