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K-9s ready to serve, protect

Rico, a Belgian Malinois, hangs from the arm of Deputy Nate Nelson of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department while Sgt. Troy Teigen, left, of the Spokane Police Department, tries to get the dog to disengage on Wednesday at the Spokane Police Academy. (Jesse Tinsley)
Rico, a Belgian Malinois, hangs from the arm of Deputy Nate Nelson of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department while Sgt. Troy Teigen, left, of the Spokane Police Department, tries to get the dog to disengage on Wednesday at the Spokane Police Academy. (Jesse Tinsley)

Newest graduates will join 3 different agencies

Rico sprang out of the police cruiser and demonstrated a takedown he’d perfected during more than 400 hours of training with the Spokane Police Department.

The 3-year-old Belgian Malinois grabbed the pad-covered arm of the provoking deputy and didn’t let go.

He was demonstrating Wednesday at the Spokane Police Academy in honor of his graduation from K-9 school. Joining him were two German shepherds: Ayk, with the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office, and Iron, with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department.

The three dogs are the latest graduates of the Spokane police K-9 school and soon will begin patrol duties with trained handlers.

“Anything that a patrolman can do, we can do safer with the dogs,” said Okanogan County Deputy Tait Everett.

Trainers say the dogs’ keen sense of smell makes them ideal for tracking suspects and recovering evidence. They’ve undergone intense obedience training and have practiced takedowns, tracks and chases.

A 15-year veteran, Everett will work with Ayk (pronounced Ike) as a replacement for a dog that retired in April.

Rico, a former Naval Special Forces K-9, will work with Sgt. Troy Teigen.

Iron will work with Kootenai County sheriff’s Deputy Nate Nelson.

Rico was donated to the Spokane police. Ayk and Iron cost between $7,500 and $10,000.

Rico will be the sixth patrol dog in the Spokane Police Department. Two other dogs are trained on narcotics detection.

Two puppies, Ajax and Alex, remain in the Spokane police K-9 puppy training program.



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