Everyone is fascinated by K9 handlers and their beloved dogs. I'd like to tell you about one of our two special teams.
MPD Detective Justin Goodsell picked out a young Labrador Retriever named Marley when a tennis ball was thrown into a field with tall grass and Marley spent 15 minutes until he found that ball. Detective Goodsell saw the dog's determination and picked out Marley to be trained as his K9 companion.
They have been partners for about four years after completing months of one-on-one training to obtain certification. Detective Goodsell is Marley’s sole handler. He takes Marley home where he has his own kennel, his special place, which Marley himself keeps spotless. He also lives in a family environment with the Detective's wife, Julie, and their children, Tori and Jordan.
These two partners devote eight hours per week to special training whereby logs are kept and turned in so certification is kept up to date. This way, logs show that the team is performing as it should so that when a search is done, it is valid. Marley only searches material items such as cars, backpacks and packages, not humans. After he works, Marley gets rewarded with playtime with his favorite toy, which happens to be cardboard.
If they are lucky, Marley can work for nine to ten years. He eats special food and has a special veterinarian. Detective Goodsell has taken a K9 Medic Program so if there is a hint of something wrong with Marley, he can get the dog to his veterinarian quickly.
The K9 police car is specially equipped so Marley’s area is kept at 70-degrees. The car is built for the safety of the dog. If the climate inside Marley's area were to change, the Detective has a sensor that will notify him. If the dog is in any danger from heat, its lights and the sirens will go off and a special fan will trigger on to remove heat from the car.
I observed Marley in action and the two together are a marvel to watch. Here is the first, second and third stage with Marley sitting and giving a final alert to the odor of illegal narcotics.