Saving lives has gotten furry again, when Ty, a 2-year-old German Shepherd from France, joins the University Police Division as the newest member of its K-9 squad.
Ty, who joined the team on Jan. 12, is trained in explosives and patrolling and is replacing a 10-year-old K-9 named Ena who has retired, Officer Chuck Gierach said.
Officer Kyle Yeager said it is common for police dogs to retire once they reach age 10.
“[We need] younger dogs that are ready to take on any challenge,” Yeager said.
The university acquired Ty from his supplier and trainer, Storm Dog Tactical, based in Sunbury, Ohio, Yeager said.
Yeager said Ohio State’s K-9 unit focuses on high-profile events, including football games, concerts and visiting foreign public figures.
“A huge component of why we have K-9 on campus is for national security,” Yeager said. “Dogs have become the front line of protecting major events.”
Yeager said initial training is 12 weeks and the K-9 unit is certified through the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy. Once certified, K-9s brush up on their skills once a week for eight hours.
“We have to choose a dog and do the training so that the dog likes the job,” Yeager said. “We need to choose a dog who loves to do the job, not one who wants to do something different.”
The university’s K-9s often work in the same buildings around campus such as Ohio Stadium, the Blackwell Inn and various academic buildings, Yeager said.
Yeager said the university police partner with the College of Veterinary Medicine and teach students about working dogs, their behaviors and the selection process.
“This helps us give back to the community,” Yeager said. “Students gain the knowledge they learn from training dogs or working with dogs.”
Due to the nature of his job, Yeager said Ty’s handler could not be identified.