Meet K9 Cas, MSU’s New Four-Legged Powerhouse – MSU Police & Public Safety

EAST LANSING, Mich. — A new four-legged powerhouse has joined MSU’s Police and Public Safety K9 Unit, and he’s called Casanova, or Cas for short.

K9 Cas officially completed training on May 13, 2022. The process took approximately 5 weeks and took place on the campus of Michigan State University.

“The on-campus resources make it a great place to build a new team,” said Sgt. Adam Atkinson, who led Cas’ training. “We were able to work together with our MSU partners to access different types of buildings, vehicles and open spaces. The high volume of foot traffic on campus, combined with the help of volunteer decoys, made for successful person-carried explosives training. »

sergeant. Atkinson is currently a master trainer through the National Association of Professional Handlers (NAPCH) and has been a handler for 12 years. He says the first part of training is selecting a dog, which is done based on its handling and personality. K9 Cas is ultimately formed for the detection of static explosives and the detection of explosives carried by a person. He is a 19 month old Labrador Retriever.

“K9 Cas is athletic, social, highly motivated, and not dog-aggressive,” Atkinson said. “Throughout school, K9 Cas learned quickly and was able to work long periods of time with minimal rest.”

Officer Tony Alkema was selected to be the K9 Cas handler. Alkema says he has always been interested in dogs and the relationship between a working dog and his handler.

“I applied to join the K9 unit in hopes of having a smart partner like Cas and being able to make a difference in the community and in the department,” Alkema said.

The Alkema officer says being a K9 handler is fun, it’s also hard work.

“Being a K9 manager is a very rewarding but arduous process,” Alkema said. “Being a dog handler means I have a new partner on patrol and at home. This means carrying poop bags and tennis balls everywhere I go, always thinking about how I can benefit from the training of my new partners and the safety and well-being of communities. There is constant training involved with being a K9 handler to keep our skills sharp. I watch his back and make sure he is still healthy and fit to protect the community.

Alkema officer completed a 5 week K9 detection/treatment course alongside K9 Cases. They are both certified and capable of responding to any explosive K9 related calls. In their first 2 weeks of service, the Alkema Officer and K9 Cas had 10 activations (8 explosive sweeps and 2 community engagement events).

sergeant. Atkinson says the Alkema officer is a perfect fit for K9 Cas because of his knowledge and experience working with dogs.

“He demonstrated a strong patrol work ethic that carried over throughout school,” Atkinson said. “He is passionate and has a positive attitude. Plus, his wife is a veterinarian!

For the Alkema officer, what he likes best about being a dog handler is being able to make a difference.

“The most rewarding part of the job is being able to be part of something much bigger than me,” Alkema said. “Cas brings a level of security that I could never provide alone as a police officer. He still wants to work; his happiness is contagious everywhere we go, and we have so much fun training and working out every day.

MSU’s Police and Public Safety K9 Unit has a combined 45 years of K9 experience. The K9 unit is made up of 6 managers and 8 K9s who provide search, detection and protection services.

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Contact:

Dana Whyte, Spokesperson, Police and Public Safety, MSU

517-282-3711, [email protected]

Inspector Chris Rozman, MSU Public Information Officer, Police and Public Safety

517-432-7940, [email protected]

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