Dog patrol

Madison Police K-9 unit
gets new four-legged officer

Laykos is a specially trained dog
originally from the Netherlands

By Tara Gentile
Contributing Writer

(June 2009) – The latest addition to the Madison Police Department stands a little over two feet tall and weighs about 70 pounds. Covered mostly in hair, he is rarely seen in a uniform and never without partner, Lt. Rick Mundt, by his side.
That’s because this new member of the force is a dog – but not just any dog. Laykos a 3-year-old German Shepherd, is originally from the Netherlands and is specially trained for police work.

Lt. Rick Mundt

Photo by Tara Gentile

Lt. Rick Mundt and
his partner, Laykos,
are part of Madison
Police Department’s
K-9 unit. Laykos is
specifically trained
for narcotics and
tracking use.

He is a dual purpose dog specifically trained in narcotics and tracking use, said Mundt, the police department’s K-9 handler.
“We take him with us on search warrants, vehicle searches. There’s really a lot he can do. If a child or an elderly person was to go missing and we got the scent in time, Laykos could find them.”
Laykos’ credentials and pedigree make him an expensive animal to acquire. The police department recently asked the Jefferson County community to make donations to help with the cost of Laykos and the supplies needed to care for him.
“We’ve really had a great response from the community from both private individuals, businesses and local organizations,” said Maj. Yancey Denning of the Madison Police Department.
The Southwestern School Corp. held a large fundraising event, along with several other schools in the area. Jefferson County Coroner Ashley Carlson Jackson took charge of a large part of the fundraising efforts, said Denning.
R.T. Steel donated Laykos’s kennel. Local veterinarian Dr. Kevin Watkins is providing free pet services for Laykos, and Sheriff Bill Andrews is purchasing dog food for the next year.
“It’s really the initial costs, the start-up that’s so expensive,” said Denning.
The majority of donations went to purchasing Laykos, training for both Laykos and Mundt, a special cage for the vehicle which transports Laykos, and equipment, such as leashes and harnesses.
Mundt and Laykos participated in five weeks of special training at the Vohne Liche kennels in Denver, Ind., before actually going on duty together.
“I picked Laykos up from Vohne Liche before the actual training and took him home with me for a week just so we could get to know each other. They want you to bond with the dog before you train with him,” said Mundt. “He’s very friendly; very sociable.”
This is the second K-9 officer the department has had in the past 12 years, the last being officer ‘Buck’ who retired after about 10 years of service.
“It would be great if we could afford more but it is such an expensive program,” said Denning.
The department’s next purchase is a knife and bullet proof vest for Laykos.
“We’re also hoping to one day install a computer system in Mundt’s vehicle that would protect the dog from overheating if left in the car,” said Denning.
The system monitors the temperature inside the vehicle and would alert Mundt if the car became too hot. If the officer was unable to get back to the vehicle in time to ventilate the interior, the system would automatically open a door to allow Laykos to escape.
“Overheating is the number No. 1 cause of death among K-9 officers. This system, though expensive, would be very valuable to the department and could possibly save Laykos’s life,” said Denning.
The department will continue to raise money in order to purchase such equipment.
“People still come in and drop off $5 or $10 every now and then,” said Denning. “Every little bit helps. Any money we can get is greatly appreciated.”

Back to June 2009 Articles.



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