SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. -- After three months of training, Chaos the K-9 officer is ready for duty. The 3-year-old Malinois is one of the newest members of the South Haven Police Department and has been working on developing his skills in rescue and narcotic scenarios.
Police work can not only be difficult, but officers must be well-trained in order handle the dangers that come with the job. Tracking down suspects is one of them.
“When people run from us it’s very important to have the dog on scene quickly," said Sgt. Chris Mersman, who is one of Chaos' handlers.
When our FOX 17 crew visited Chaos during training, he was working to track a scent and intensely followed it through the field.
“They can track over any type of terrain. In any type of weather condition," said Sgt. Mersman. "They can follow a continuous scent that leads the handler to the person they’re trying to find.”
The dog's strong and keen sense of smell is resourceful while sniffing out illegal drugs as well. Chaos has been trained to find marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.
“So it’s a seamless transition from this, to a real house, or real search warrant, or into a real life application when we’re using the dog on the street," said Sgt. Mersman.
His trainers say Chaos caught on quickly to the training. He's also rewarded with positive phrases of reassurance or even a treat or ball to chew on.
"He brings us together, he's one of the guys," said Sgt. Mersman.
Officials with the South Haven Police Department said it's been more than a year since they have had a K-9 officer. With Chaos fully trained, they hope to have him on the force for the next seven years.
The city of reportedly purchased Chaos for $4,500 with money from the general fund. Officials said the narcotics millage also helped aid in the purchase.