Herald JournalHoward Lake-Waverly Herald, July 22, 2002

Howard Lake police to get drug dog

By Lynda Jensen

Training and purchase of one male black labrador drug dog was approved by the Howard Lake City Council for its police department Tuesday.

The dog will have two handlers, officers Tim Sonnek and new officer Dan Lang. The dog may also double up as a search and rescue animal in the future.

It will be able to detect marijuana, crack, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, heroin, and mushrooms, Keyes said. The drug activity encroaching on the area was noted. "We want drug dealers to keep driving through town (instead of stopping here)," he said.

The council discussed the purchase before approving the idea, although it was hailed as a good idea.

Council Member Shelly Reddemann asked about using the dog at the school parking lot, and whether this would require notice. Keyes indicated that all the laws that apply to search and seizure would apply, but that he spoke with High School Principal Mike Day and had 120 percent of his support, Keyes said.

The training will amount to $1,250 for the cost of the dog and dual trainers, along with $45 per year, which covers such items as insurance. Other costs will be veterinarian bills and food, which would be $500 to $600 annually, and vehicle modification, which would be between $500 and $2,500. Outgoing police chief Mike Simmons pointed out that the costs would fit under the existing budget for training.

The money from seizures and forfeitures will redeem these costs in the first year, Keyes said.

Keyes pointed out that the dog will only be used for proactive sniffing of drugs, not for any aggressive police dog activity; of which there is a big difference between the two, he said.

"This is not an attack dog," Keyes said. This type of dog is termed a "passive" dog and will only point the direction of where the suspected drugs are, not damage property by scratching at the location, Keyes said.

The trainer will be Mark Shoutz, who lives south of Dassel and works at the Glencoe Police Department. He is the president of the United States Canine Association of Region 12. Shoutz has extensive experience as a trainer and handler, including being an explosive detection K-9 handler for eight years, cadaver K-9 handler for eight years, as well as a search and rescue handler for 12 years.

Shoutz has trained drug dogs for the following police departments: Cosmos, Kimball, Glencoe, Hector, the McLeod County Sheriff's Department, among others.
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