Two new K9 officers join New Berlin police force
Photo: Video by tmj4.com
CAMPBELLSPORT – K9 Officer Bac had his last day on the job for the New Berlin Police Department on Saturday, officially entering retirement this week.
To fill his paws, the NBPD began a fundraiser to pay for a new K9 officer. Thanks to the support of the community and Stan Kass, they raised enough money to purchase two dogs.
Kass heard about New Berlin’s need from TODAY’S TMJ4’s Courtny Gerrish’s report about Bac’s retirement back in January. Condor isn’t even two years old and Argo is only a teenager in doggy years, but the two German Shepherds are biting into a big responsibility.
Rick Helm was chosen to be one of the handlers for New Berlin, he tells TODAY’S TMJ4’s Jesse Ritka that Argo is a perfect partner for him.
“Argo can pretty much do anything that we try to train them to do and he’s probably one of the best partners I’ll have throughout my career,” he said.
But that career begins in Germany where the dogs get their initial training before they meet their handlers at the Steinig Tal Kennel in Campbellsport.
“We can teach the handlers and we can teach the dogs, but teaching them to work together as a team is probably the hardest and takes the longest,” Steinig Tal Kennel Owner Lawrence Filo explains.
Condor and Argo just started training with their handlers, JJ Ament and Rick Helm, last week. But the new patrol paws are already responding to commands in German, learning to sniff out drugs and even bite the “bad guys” on command.
But the work is almost harder for the handlers, as they are learning from square one. Officer Ament says that Condor already has a good training base built up.
“It’s more learning the training that he already has, I’m just trying to catch up to him because this dog is further ahead than I am certainly in the training," Ament said. "He’s figured it out; it seems I’m playing catch up.”
Typically it takes a K9 officer and their handler around a year to develop a strong bond to form a successful partnership, something both officers are excited for.
“Their training is just going to continue and you just keep learning new things and exploring new things and it’s just a big learning curve throughout your career,” Officer Helm says.
A career with helping to serve the community responsible for purchasing the pups that Officer Ament is so thankful for.
“I can’t thank the community enough, this is their dog,” he said.
Argo and Condor still have two and a half weeks before they officially become members of the New Berlin Police Department.