K-9 officers from multiple agencies taking part in special training drills out in Sandusky

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SANDUSKY, Ohio (WJW) — Police K-9s from multiple local agencies are going through drills this week with their handlers to fine tune their skills.

“These dogs, they love their dad or mom so much that no matter what command we give them to go into that building or go into that woods, they are going to go in there,” said Josh Young, a Huron County K-9 handler who is helping coordinate the training, along with Bob McDowell.

McDowell, a retired investigator and K-9 handler with the Huron County Sheriff’s Office has paired police dogs with handlers at departments across the country, including East Cleveland’s newest arrival, a year and a half old German shepherd named Jack.

“He’s going to be trained dual purpose, once we are done in like six weeks he will be able to track suspects, any lost or missing people that come up in our city,” said Patrolman Ian McCinnis, Jack’s handler.

Jack will also be trained to detect illegal narcotics.

“The largest asset for us is time. A K-9 is able to go in and do tracking, sniffs for narcotics in a fraction of the amount of time it would take an officer to go through and do a physical search. Hopefully it will reduce injuries of officers getting in physical confrontations,” said East Cleveland Police Chief Scott Gardner.

East Cleveland has not had a K-9 since 2014 and Gardner says their new arrival should be certified and able to do his job sometime within the next couple of months.

Jack and his officer handler are training this week alongside more experienced dogs.

They include Lasso, who is an eight-year-old shepherd who has been paired with Clyde Police Officer Carla Shaffer for the past four years.

“We find missing people, people that run on us on calls. We find a lot of drugs; we average about three call-outs a week,” said Schaffer.

In addition to being very good at their jobs, K-9s are also good ambassadors for departments to bridge the officers with their communities since so many people love dogs.

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