A new dog in town [UPDATED]Published 11:23am Wednesday, October 31, 2012 Updated 7:17am Thursday, November 1, 2012
The Fergus Falls Police Department has a new four-legged officer. After the retirement of Ranger, a K-9 unit managed by Lt. Terry Eldien, the Fergus Falls Police Department was without a dog for two years. Stepping up to the plate was Officer Connor West, who has been with the department since 2005.
“I have always wanted to be part of a K-9 unit,” said West, who worked with the late Deputy Darren Kunz and his dog Nijka as well as Eldien and Ranger. “I thought I knew a lot after working with them, but now that I am in the position I know there is so much more to learn.” he said.
West’s dog, Exel, is a three-year-old pure bred German Shepherd, hailing straight from Germany were he had very little training. “He only understands German, so I had to learn how to work with him,” West said.
After his journey from Germany, Exel spent three months at the North Iowa K-9 training facility. Training consisted of narcotics and patrol. “I went down in mid September to do some training with him, learning how to work with him and so he could learn to work with me” he said.
Exel is trained to sniff out nine different narcotics. While Exel is still waiting for his first deployment, he did assist West with a burglary case in Henning.
“He is valuable to have as part of our team,” West said. “We are out there for patrol, but also as a part of public relations. It seems like he always wants to work.”
While Exel enjoys the work, West said, the two-year-old dog is still adjusting to his new life.
“He acts like a two-year-old, and still has a lot of puppy in him,” West said. “I am not too familiar with Germany and the weather there, but Exel is having a hard time adjusting to the weather. The leaves are also hard for him. He wants to chase them.”