By: Erin Freeman | Lynnwood Times Staff
A 15-month-old German Shepard named Chase is now officially the newest member of the Lynnwood Police Department.
Searching for a highly sociable dog with a strong sense of smell, the Lynnwood Police Department (LPD) was led to Rochester, Wash., discovering the to be K-9.
“His ability to work and his friendly personality made him a perfect fit at LPD,” said Lynnwood Police Sergeant Joseph Dickinson, supervisor of the K-9 unit.
Chase and his handler Officer Jake Shorthill recently completed an intensive 200-hour training course, spread throughout five-weeks beginning on June 14. On Wednesday, July 22, Chase’s skills were assessed, certified to current Washington State Police Canine Association standards.
The training focused on the developments of skills that Chase utilizes while on patrol, including obedience, tracking, and area searching.
Chase excels at tracking, searching for a scent an immediate response of his when he gets out of the patrol car. Still, all dog’s training to join the K-9-unit face challenges during canine class, says Dickenson. For Chase, that difficulty arose from his attachment to Officer Shorthill.
“Chase is very attached to his handler and wants to be with him all the time. During certification, the dogs have to be 100 feet away in a stay position for several minutes. Chase was not a fan of being that far away for so long. We overcame this [by] slowly increasing the time and distance away from the handler until Chase felt more comfortable. He’s still not a fan but listens well.”
“Chase picked him,” Dickinson added. “They instantly hit it off and Chase really responded to Officer Shorthill. The bond between handler and dog is very strong. ”
The LPD recently retired Officer Shorthill’s previous K-9 partner Eli due to age. Of Shorthill’s fourteen years with the department, Chase marks his second canine.
“He has a different personality than my other dog,” explained Shorthill. “My retired dog Eli is more independent while Chase wants to be around me. He’s what we call a handler sensitive dog, he’s just a little more bonded to me.”
K-9 Chase is one of four police dogs assigned to the department, his arrival bringing the LPD back up to full four-dog staffing. According to Dickenson, their K-9 Unit answers 911 calls just like other patrol teams, additionally responding when an officer requests canine assistance. The K-9 unit operating at capacity allows the LPD to provide nearly 24 hours of canine service to the City of Lynnwood.
“This is important because the police dogs provide a valuable resource when needed but the officers can perform their normal duties when the canines are not in use,” Dickinson explained. “This maximizes the efficiency of the unit which falls under [the] Patrol Division at the department.”
Chase will begin cross-training for narcotics detection in the coming months to further his operational capabilities.
To learn more about K-9 Chase’s certification assessment, watch this video created by the Lynnwood Police Department, https://www.facebook.com/437758473228097/videos/615403025769394.