Law Enforcement Paws Take to the Field for Operation K-9

The dogs showed off what they would do in the field like finding explosives, searching a vehicle for drugs, and taking down suspects.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- The community was able to get a front-row seat to the amazing talents and skills of the Northland’s top dogs, who showed how they help serve and protect at this year’s Operation K-9 at UWS.

14 K-9s and their handlers from St. Louis and Douglas County Sheriff’s Offices and the Duluth, Superior, and Hermantown Police Departments took part in demonstrations.

The dogs showed off what they would do in the field like finding explosives, searching a vehicle for drugs, and taking down suspects.

While they are intense in their work, handlers say it’s important the community sees their softer side too.

“You look at a police dog and you might be a little nervous, looking at one,” said Officer Jeremy O’Connor, K-9 Handler for Kallie. “But you get this opportunity like I said to come out here and pet the dog, get a picture with the dog and they’re surprised at how friendly the police dogs actually are.

“And for the most part that’s basically how we train them is to be friendly. And they only need to be aggressive just to protect us and to protect others,” he said.

The event also paid tribute to Duluth K-9 Luna, who was killed in action earlier this year in a long police standoff.

Operation K-9 is the Northland K-9 Foundation’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

Organizers say it raises $30,000-$40,000 with donations from sponsors and from attendees at the event, taking part in the silent auction or buying merchandise.

All that money goes right back to the dogs in the program, as tax dollars do not typically cover k-9 expenses.

“Our fundraiser is used to purchase dogs and the training for the agencies that are involved in that: Douglas County, Superior, St. Louis County, Duluth and Hermantown,” said Hermantown Police Chief Jim Crace, also on the Northland K-9 Foundation board.

Some of the Northland’s K-9 finest will be out again at Duluth Police’s Kids, Cops and Cars event next week.

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