Canine officer discusses training process

6:50 AM, Jun 29, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PETER, Minn. - Canine officers from around the state will be in St. Peter beginning Sunday to undergo a yearly certification process.

Eight canine officers from Minneapolis will make the trip, including Sgt. Andy Stender and Nash.

"This is our second year working together," Stender said.

Stender considers Nash his partner in the field. He says each of the handlers goes through weekly training in Minneapolis.

"We teach the handlers to become a handler and the dog to do police work," he said. "A lot of times the hardest part is teaching the handler not the dog because it's pretty much natural for the good dogs to go out and find the bad guy."

Stender said that a lot of the handlers will practice a technique with their dog each shift to help keep them sharp.

"My sole purpose is to help the precinct officers, the street officers," Stender said. "I supplement them. They do most of the hard work. They just need help locating the guy sometime because they may have fled out of a vehicle or fled from a house or committing a burglary or stuff like that."

He said it's his job with the dog to go inside and locate a suspect.

"I know my dog will go in and bite somebody if they're in there hiding and I know he'll find them, but that's not my goal," Stender said. "I don't send my dog out to get an apprehension. I use my dog to locate people and try to take them into custody using the least amount of force necessary."

Often that means Nash goes in, finds the suspect and then starts barking and the person gives up. It's a true team with a true goal in mind -- keeping each other safe.

"I know he's always got my back and he doesn't take a coffee break," Stender joked.

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