4th Annual Operation K-9
Area Agencies Show Off Dogs Capabilities
More than a dozen Northland K-9 teams demonstrated their skills in front of a massive crowd today at AMSOIL Center in Superior.
“Its really cool to be here to show off the dogs skills. What they can actually do and allow the public to have this close interaction with these dogs,” Sgt. Brandon Silgjord of St. Louis County Sheriffs said.
Building relationships with the community without knowing they’re doing so.
“The good will that they can do and the positive interaction they can bring police officers and community members. I think that goes a long way especially in today’s environment where there has been some strain in relationships with police and communities.” Superior Chief of Police Nicholas Alexander said.”
One of those dogs, considered a veteran and serving as the oldest dog in all of the Northland forces, Kilo, who is 7 is no rookie.
“Kilo is a dual purpose dog so we do narcotics work and we do patrol work which is tracking and apprehension/evidence searching,” Silgjord said.
Kilo and all the German Shepherds came from the Czech Republic. There they have intense training until they turn one. The training continues when they arrive to the states, this time with their full time handler.
“We spend 3 months together during training and that really builds that bond,” Silgjord said.
A bond that makes the dogs a full time family member.
“We spend more time with our K-9’s than we do with anybody else. Our family members, our wives, husbands, daughters, sons, because they are with us at work all day they’re at home with us so were with them 24-7,” Silgjord said.
Building a type of love that’s unmatched.
“If I leave for a week, I’ve got photos with him sleeping next to my squad car for the entire day just waiting for me to come back home,” Silgjord said.
Whether in the field or at home, Kilo and all of his K-9 partners in uniform will stick by their handler’s side no matter what.
“It’s pretty crazy the amount of loyalty he shows me. Where human beings can differ a little bit in their loyalty, no matter what he is there for me all the time,” Silgjord said.
The average time a dog spends on the force is usually between 8–10 years. Kilo has a few more years and after that he becomes a family dog for the Silgjord family.
Tonight this year’s operation K–9 came with one special person missing.
That of course is the late Al Amatuzio who founded AMSOIL in 1972 and was a key partner and financial backer of the Northland K-9 foundation.
“This is the first year we’re having it without him. Every year he was here presenting checks, petting the dogs. He just enjoyed the whole activity,” Co- President of AMSOIL Dean Alexander.
“Not having him here is kind of sad. I do feel confident that he’s looking down and watching this because I know this was an event he liked to attend and I’m sure he’s got one of the best seats right now,” Superior Police Chief Nicholas Alexander said.
Al Amatuzio died this past April at the age of 92.