Newest TPD service dog prepares to hit the streets

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - For the past 10 weeks, Topeka Police Officer Josh Miller and his K9 partner Lobo have been training to hit the streets.

“He looks like he’s gonna be this big, tough, mean dog,” Miller said. “And in reality, he’s just kind of a teddy bear in a way.”

Hours have gone into getting Lobo ready to be a narcotics police service dog for the TPD.

“It’s a long day-to-day. Day-to-day’s really long for us,” Miller said. “He stays with me, lives with me, we’re around each other 24/7.”

It all starts before the work day. Officer Miller and Lobo will go for a run at 6 a.m.

Then, it’s class time. Lobo goes through obedience sessions, patrol training, tactics, and detection exercises.

“We bring in different narcotic odors. We’ll have stuff set up where we don’t know where it’s at. My sergeant Mike Ahlstedt, he hid the drugs last week where only Mike knew where the drugs were at,” Miller said. “He’d send us in there and we’d say, ‘Hey, the dog’s indicating to this exact spot,’ He goes, ‘Yeah that’s where the drugs are at,’ and we’d be able to give the dog a toy for that and praise him for doing the right thing.”

Lobo is expected to be certified by Christmastime, where he’ll serve a vital role to the department.

“He’s the first one in there,” Miller said. “These guys are able to sniff the seams of doors and, ‘Hey I smell body odor in there,’ and they’ll bark to that letting us know that the dog believes there’s somebody behind this door. He can apprehend somebody that’s a really bad person and we can say, 'Hey, the dog did the least amount of damage compared to what this could have been. We didn’t need to use lethal force.'”

Man’s best friend is known for being loyal, and that applies to the field, too.

“He rides along the back of the car, you know your back up’s 10 seconds away. I can stop the car, my back-up’s right there in my car," Miller said. "We can get him out, he can help me out whatever’s going on. Another officer, his backup may be 30 seconds to a minute away.”

TPD currently has three K9s in service. Lobo and three others will join them in just a few weeks.