Know the K9s: RCPD’s Police Service Dog Jary

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Not all of the officers with the Rapid City Police Department are human: three are pups. We’ll introduce you to each K9 and their handlers through the summer.

Senior Officer Brandon Thompson with the Rapid City Police Department is accompanied by Police Service Dog (PSD) Jary, a Belgian Malinois. Jary has been with RCPD since 2016, and he’s the most senior K9.

Jary’s main purpose is to serve the community by helping us to take drugs and violent offenders off the street,” Thompson explains.

K9 JaryAll of the K9s are dual purpose dogs, which means they’re trained to locate and apprehend suspects, as well as find drugs. Jary and Officer Thompson trained together for months to develop these skills, and practice them weekly.

“You go to patrol school for six weeks and we also go to drug school for six weeks,” Thompson says. “During those six weeks is when we learn together as a team the different processes that we use to locate items of evidence, track a suspect, or locate drugs.”

I put their practice to the test in an open field by hiding my keys, which Jary quickly tracked down after being instructed to locate them. Jary is rewarded with his toy after a successful find, with “free dog” being his cue that he can take a play break.

However, he’s always ready for the next call. During a traffic stop, Jary indicated that he sensed the odor of a controlled substance in the vehicle. Officers then conducted a search, and sure enough, “that indicates a presumptive positive for methamphetamine,” says Officer Auteberry.

Thermal imaging also helps the duo find those who flee or hide, but just like humans officers, dogs encounter dangerous situations that they have to be prepared for. Officer Thompson carries plenty of materials to keep Jary safe at work, from boots to a ballistic vest. Plus, some first responders with the Rapid City Fire Department are trained to provide K9 first aid.

“This has almost everything they would need to perform a procedure,” says Officer Thompson while going through Jary’s medical bag.

Off duty, Jary is a family dog.

When we’re not at work, he knows he’s off duty. He loves to sprawl out on the couch or he’ll climb up in the rocking chair with me and just sit his it. He’s really just kind of a big lap dog at home,” Thompson says.

Like many of us, Jary enjoys a good snack after a long day.

He loves his Kong and he loves peanut butter and if you put two of those together, it’ll keep him busy for hours,” adds Thompson. “He’s a lover, that’s for sure”

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