SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Some of the most visible and most admired officers of the Sioux City Police Deparment are the K9s who undergo training all year to be prepared for whatever scenario is thrown at them.
The K9s are dynamic and hardworking, and their handlers train hard so the dogs are ready for their assigned tasks.
The training takes place year-round and covers several areas like obedience, searching, and tracking.
The handlers of the K9s train as a team once a week for four hours, which is in addition to the daily training they receive by their handlers.
During the winter months, the training takes place indoors.
“The training consists of building searches for a suspect, narcotics searches, on and off the leash obedience, aggression control, small team tactics, K9 first aid, and scenario-based drills,” Sgt. Jake Noltze, leader of the K9 team, said.
The team recently trained in a local elementary school as temperatures outside were well below freezing.
“Wintertime is best suited to train indoors due to weather conditions. Since K9s are required to deploy into new environments every day, it is important to change up the training venue for the dogs to generalize their highly specialized skills,” Noltze added.
Each new building the K9s encounter presents new challenges for the dogs. This helps the dogs develop confidence and helps the dogs adjust quickly to their surroundings.
When the team uses the same training area repeatedly, the dogs get used to it and learn where people or items can hide,” Noltze said.
The Sioux City Police Department currently has four dogs in the K9 program.
Two of the K9s are on the afternoon shift and the other two are on the night shift.
The department assigns the dogs to these shifts as they have the highest rates for drug arrests and suspect apprehension.
The K9s are also a ‘dual-purpose’ dog. This means they do not only search for and apprehend suspects, but they can also track and search for items.
During the winter training months, the team will practice searching for burglary suspects of looking for contraband.
In 2019, the K9 team conducted 45 building searches, and during one of those searches, eleven burglary suspects were apprehended by the team.
“The dogs’ ability to smell where suspects are and even their very presence greatly improves safety for others,” Noltze said.
Part of the challenge for the team is finding new venues to host their training.
“We’re grateful for the access we’ve had from the schools and a few local businesses, but we are always looking for new places to train,” Noltze shared.
If you are interested in making your building or business available for K9 training, contact Sgt. Jake Noltze at firstname.lastname@example.org.