City Gets New Police Dog

April 01, 2009 08:00AM

Jackson's newest addition to the Police Department won't take no for an answer. Mostly because his two main commands are given to him by Officer William Mills in Dutch.

Nero, a 17 month old Dutch Shepherd is the city's newest addition to its K-9 police unit. And there will be no out-running this pup. Now running close to 50 miles per hour full speed, Mills is confident that Nero will be a great police dog.

"There was just something about him I liked," Mills said. "He is not skittish and he has epic ball drive."

Nero wants nothing more than to get to play with his ball, so it critical in his training.
Watching attentively and semi-patiently, Nero waits for Mills to give the command that it is OK for him to play with the ball.

Mills holds it up in front of him and moves it from side to said, teaching Nero to wait for the command that it is OK to take the ball from him.

"He has to understand it is what I want him to do and not do," Mills said.

Whenever Nero does not follow commands, Mills slightly tugs at a leash attached to a pinch collar so he knows he has done something wrong.

Aside from normal shifts, Mills trains with Nero once a week with several other surrounding area police dogs from Adrian, Lenewee County, Hillsdale county, Jackson County, Monroe and Ann Arbor.

The group travels to different areas around the state once a week to help each other with training. The officers help lay tracks for the dogs to follow and give each other tips on how to better help the dogs.

Nero had to follow a trail Thursday Ann Arbor Police officer Kevin Harding laid out for him by walking though the grass and eventually over cement, which is harder for the dogs to trace. Along the trail were pieces of evidence to reassure the dog he was on the right track to finding his ball.

After waiting about 20 minutes, Nero had to follow Harding's scent, making the same turns that Harding made, laying down in front of evidence.

On the job, Nero will use the same skills, except he will think he is looking for his ball and instead finds a suspect in a crime.

"Ultimately he will be looking for the ball and instead there is a guy hiding somewhere," Mills said.

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