K9 Officer Norik Joins FMPD | Daily Democrat
He’s only two years old, and he already has a full-time job — and with the Fort Madison Police Department.
“Norik”, a 2-year-old German Shepherd, began work as the FMPD’s first K9 officer on Wednesday, along with his handler, FMPD officer Greg Warosh.
The two recently returned from Ashland, Ohio, where Warosh completed three weeks of intensive training.
Warosh said the kennel, K9 Working Dogs International, trains the dog in tracking, narcotics and searches, and has done so for law enforcement in Keokuk, Burlington and Louisa County.
“Except on the different types of narcotics because the composition of these can differ from place to place. The kennel owner spent six weeks training the dogs on specific types of narcotics,” Warosh said. “Other than that, the training was for me on how to give orders, how to continue training.”
In Norik’s case, these commands are given in Dutch, but Warosh says some of the dogs are trained to respond to commands in German.
Norik now lives with the Warosh family near Montrose where he has a kennel with a fenced outdoor area and has already adjusted to his housemates.
“Oh, they like him. He’s not too fond of being petted. He’s okay with that, but doesn’t seem to go out of his way for it. He just wants to walk around and sniff and check things out. All he wants is to work.”
Unlike many dogs, Norik is only allowed one toy and no more.
“He must really want this toy. He is not allowed toys in his kennel or in his free time. On the one hand, he will chew them and eat them. The only toy, the ball, is his reward for pointing out narcotics or finding someone.
Dog treats and “people food” are also prohibited.
“He can only have food for his dog because we don’t want, if anyone has treats in a car, as well as medicine, we don’t want him to say that on the treats. We just want it to say about narcotics. Or, if someone has a McDonald’s in the car, we don’t want them to start sitting down to get McDonald’s food.
Norik and Warosh will have the same work schedule since Warosh is the only certified K9 manager in the department. It also means that both can be called to work at any time during their off hours if narcotics are suspected or there is a search for a missing person.
Need a K9 officer
Police Chief Mark Rohloff and Warosh explained the need for a K9 officer to the Fort Madison City Council in January.
Although the canine officer can be used to locate missing persons, detect abandoned weapons from fleeing suspects, and subdue aggressive and unstable people, the dog’s primary use is narcotics detection, and Rohloff and Warosh told the advice that narcotics are directly and indirectly related. many other crimes committed at Fort Madison.
“We know there is a direct correlation between drug crimes and other crimes. Obviously the effectiveness comes with the dog and its ability to detect drugs and help us with searches and arrests,” Rohloff said.
Additionally, Rohloff said the Bureau of Justice Statistics report shows that drug-related crimes are linked to 21% of thefts, 40% of property crimes and 14% of violent crimes in communities.
Using a slide presentation, Warosh showed the board that in 2021, without a K9 unit, 129 grams of methamphetamine, 182 grams of marijuana, 9,882 milligrams of illegal prescriptions, one gram of cocaine and 77 grams of of ecstasy were confiscated in the city.
Warosh said the K9 can also be an essential partner for an officer making an arrest.
“There’s a huge benefit to having a partner with you in a squad car at all times. Traffic stops that turn deadly or confrontational. Squad cars are equipped so an officer can just push a button and the door opens and the K9 is there to help.
Warosh said Thursday his squad car had a makeshift kennel, but was due to rest next month with a temperature alert system and an automatic button.
K9 Program Cost
Start-up costs for the K9 program were approximately $77,000 and included $28,860 for a trained K9 agent, two weeks of training in Ohio for the FMPD handler with the dog, and food; and $48,588 for a specially equipped patrol car. After that, about $4,200 will be needed each year for food, housing, and other upkeep expenses.
But Rohloff secured corporate sponsors and sought grants to cover those costs, in addition to fundraisers. A recent chili dinner at Fort Madison Hy-Vee raised $1,788 for the Lee County K9 Association.
A K9 Euchre tournament is scheduled for Friday, April 22, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Fort Madison Pavilion in Riverview Park. Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided with a voluntary donation.
Participants can bring their own beer/alcohol. Euchre begins at 6 p.m. for $5 per person with a 50-cent euchre fee. There will be a 50/50 draw at 8 p.m.
Fundraising sponsors include Keokuk Walmart, Fort Madison Pizza Hut, Kempker’s True Value & Rental Inc., Huffman Welding, Huffman’s Farm & Home, BJ’s performance and Catfish Bend Casino.