Learn more about RCPD Police Service Dog Max after helping de-escalate a situation Saturday

RCPD K9 TrainingRAPID CITY, S.D. – Saturday night, Rapid City Police Department (RCPD) received a call about a man threatening several people in a home on Van Buren Street.

Officer Roan Reiman, K9 handler for RCPD, his Police Service Dog (PSD) Max, the on-shift supervisor and several other officers responded and found that the man had barricaded himself in the basement.

They determined that the suspect was in the basement of the older-built house and got anyone uninvolved out of the house.

While trying to de-escalate the situation, the suspect made a number of threatening statements toward law enforcement. When he continued his threatening statements, officers informed the suspect that a K9 officer was on the scene with his dog.

PSD Max stayed by Officer Reiman’s side, being quiet like he was trained to do. Officer Reiman kicked the door to try fracturing it, causing it to come off the hinges and fell on its side.

“So, not flat on the floor like a rug, but on its side, creating a barrier between the suspect and myself and the dog. That gave the suspect a brief moment to see what was going on, but was actually preventing my dog from visually observing the suspect,” Officer Reiman said. “So I got the door moved and that time the dog observed the suspect. The suspect observed the dog pretty much simultaneously. The suspect made an utterance of, ‘Oh, you really do have a dog’ and then gave up immediately.”

The suspect was placed in handcuffs, the weapons were safely found and everybody got out of the house in a safe manner without any injuries.

Photos of Wednesday’s K9 training:

Threats toward officers from the suspect

“There was numerous statements made to myself, as well as my fellow officers, about shooting us,” Officer Reiman said. “‘Do I want to die today or tomorrow?’ ‘Would I rather be shot with a .45 or a 9-millimeter?’ Those types of statements were clearly from that person because he was the only one in that room directed towards us. It’s a little unnerving. Absolutely. But that’s what we have to do as part of our job to try to protect the community in that particular endeavor.”

Why are the PSD trained to stay quiet?

PSD like Max are trained to be quiet for a number of reasons.

“If we’re in a situation where I don’t want the suspect to know we’re there, I don’t want to show my hand of cards too soon,” Officer Reiman said. “You want the dog to be quiet. In this particular case, it’s good because then I can have correspondence with the suspect, right? I can communicate, say what’s the desired outcome, what we need the suspect to do, etc., and give them a chance to just comply. So there’s not that auditory confusion that’s created by the dog barking. It’s just part of a more tactical strategy.”

Max is also trained to do exactly what Officer Reiman tells him to do. It allows Officer Reiman to have him under control and by his side, then if needed, Max would’ve engaged the suspect.

How critical of a resource is a K-9 unit?

“I am obviously quite biased because I’m a canine handler, but I can say without any reservation, a significant one. It’s not only a public safety thing. We’re able to hopefully find the perpetrators faster, safer, but the significant portion is the officer safety aspect,” Officer Reiman said. “I now have a dog that can see, hear, smell better than I can, and that dog is trained to alert me the handler about what he or she is observing or understanding to give me feedback, to make better decisions. That helps with the suspect safety, the public safety, but most definitely the officer safety.”

How extensive is the training for these dogs?

Training for these dogs is extensive. On the patrol, suspect apprehension side of things, dogs go through at least a six-week training with the South Dakota Highway Patrol.

“We go through a systematic training regiment to an ultimate graduation. The graduation is about a day long, a series of tests to determine the fact that the dog’s going to do what they’re supposed to do,” Reiman said. “Past that you have to recertify annually, and then we here in Rapid City train every Wednesday. Now, understandably so, sometimes we don’t get to it because of vacations or what have you. But [the] ideal is to train at least every Wednesday.”

More about Max

Max is a dual-purpose canine. He is drug sniffing certified as well as patrols.

“Sniffing cars to find drugs and contraband and that type of thing,” Officer Reiman said. “I found a couple of guns on evidence searches so far, magazines, articles used in evidence, the occasional lost set of car keys, those type of things that anything that has recent human odor on them. Plus the numerous deployments to apprehensions, but not full-on apprehensions, because Max has been doing a good job of communicating.”

Max has been a part of the RCPD since February 2020 and he was actually born in Holland, got some training overseas and was brought to the U.S. by a kennel that specializes in police and military-type dogs.

What’s the relationship like between officer and canine?

“It’s multifaceted,” Reiman said. “So on a legal aspect, I’m the only person that can handle Max in a way that can be justified in a court of law based upon our certifications. So he and I are a team that way. But he lives with me and we are out on patrol every day that I work, plus some, especially on call-outs. So it can be the middle of the night and my phone rings and some law enforcement agency in the greater western South Dakota area needs a dog. We might have to go, depending on where it is and what needs to be done, that type of thing. So there’s a lot to the dog and handler relationship. It’s more symbiotic than just another tool.”

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News