Chester’s rookie K-9 captures a lot of attention

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

New K9 officer, Dutch, gives the camera a quizzical look. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

The Chester Police Department has a new officer, and he’s just a year old.

Dutch, a Dutch shepherd belonging to Chester Police Chief Rick Cloud, has been learning on the job, but his formal, 6-week training begins on March 6. According to Cloud, Dutch will be trained to sniff out seven types of drugs along with patrol, tracking and officer protection.

Once fully trained, Dutch will be tested and must find all seven drugs in a car, a home and a warehouse. If he is able to do that, he will be certified.

Cloud is a member of Vermont’s K9 Training Council and is an instructor for K9 handling. That means Dutch’s training can be done in-house and the required 16 hours of continuing education each month won’t require a trip to the Vermont Police Academy. The only cost to the town has been $1,500 from the forfeiture fund to install a system that protects the dog from overheating if a police cruiser stalls while the officer is away from it. When the temperature inside the car becomes too high, the Hot Dog system automatically rolls down the windows, turns on a fan, honks the horn and flashes the cruiser’s lights.

According to Cloud, several area businesses are donating funds to reimburse the forfeiture fund. Otherwise, according to Cloud, the Town of Chester will not have any expenses for Dutch.

While Cloud talks to the Select Board, Dutch checks Phil Perlah for contraband. Perlah was clean and Dutch got his ears scratched.

Cloud told the Select Board on Wednesday night that he has had Dutch since the dog was 8 weeks old, and he has taken the dog out and about getting socialized. He has visited the Chester Fall Festival and basketball games at Green Mountain Union High School where, Cloud said, he was a big hit with the kids.

At 20 months old, when he is fully grown, Dutch will be fitted for a bullet proof vest through the nonprofit Vested Interest in K9s. The organization turns public donations into bullet and stab proof vests for police dogs. Vested Interest also provides two years of canine health insurance along with the vest.

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