By Ray Van Dusen/Monroe Journal
ABERDEEN – Since Aberdeen’s new K9 dog still has a little puppy left in his spirit, preparing him for and unwinding him from work puts Aberdeen police officer Mike Walker in the similar position of having another child.
“My job has been the same since his first day on duty, but it takes 45 minutes to an hour before work to prepare him and the same amount of time after we get home. He’s an extra addition to my family. My wife and children have bonded with him just as much as I have,” Walker said.
Tank, a 11⁄2-year-old German shepherd, joined the Aberdeen Police Department in August after five weeks of training with Walker at various locations in Union County and Tupelo.
During that time, Walker worked on the three stages of bonding, knowledge and obedience while training on possible scenarios that could arise while on duty.
Tank came from Honduras and endured nearly two months of pre-training before being paired with Walker. Walker earned certifications in being a K9 officer during that time. He has been with the APD for two years after serving five years on the Columbus Police Department force.
Tank’s main responsibilities are criminal apprehension, narcotics detection and tracking for lost people.
The K9 answers to 15 commands in German so Walker had to learn a little of the language also.
“If there’s a lost child or someone with Alzheimer’s who has wandered away, Tank will pick up the scent of one of the person’s items and follow the direction from there. Nine times out of 10, K9s can pick up scents that we as humans can’t so he’ll be an asset in finding drugs,” Walker said.
A couple of Tank’s more prolific assignments have been several vehicle searches and searches for a possible burglary suspect and narcotics in a building.
“The K9 unit is a huge asset to our department. We still need a lot more equipment to help us get the job done, but having Tank is a step in the right direction,” said Chief Henry Randle.