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Transition Time in Douglas County K9 Program

Posted: 06/04/2019

Author: Julie Anderson

Category: County Sheriff Press Release

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With a final shake, Douglas County K9 Officer Vinny officially retired.  And, with amazing agility, Douglas County K9 Officer Hunter leaped into duty. It’s transition time for the K9 program which proudly serves the residents and visitors who rely on their services.

Each K9 officer has a handler. Sergeant Wade Lerfald has dedicated more than 15 years of his career to the K9 program. He and Vinny have won many awards at the regional and national level. At a retirement gathering May 23, Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen presented K9 Vinny with a plaque to thank him and Lerfald for their partnership service. He told the group, “Being a K9 handler isn’t something you do, it becomes who you are. Vinny will be missed as one of our partners.”

Sheriff deputy Bob Peper and his K 9 Ozzy are now the veteran team in the county. They have been partners since 2015. Ozzy is a Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd mix certified in narcotics detection and patrol work.

The new team is Deputy Ben Jarvi and his K 9 partner Hunter. They received their certification May 30, 2019. Both Ozzy and Hunter were trained through the Minneapolis Police K9 program. Dogs and handlers that complete the program successfully are qualified to search buildings and areas for unauthorized people, track criminals, search for evidence dropped by criminals during flight, search for narcotics and pursue and apprehend criminals fleeing the scene.

On graduation day, Jarvi and Hunter performed for the crowd. Hunter showed off his agility by mastering the hurdles, broad jump, crawl, A frame and catwalk. He also participated in a mock suspect chase, running after the bad guy and catching him with no problem.

The 13 weeks of training in Minneapolis also included decision-making through scenarios and a review of case law for the handlers.

Sheriff Troy Wolbersen is pleased with the addition of Jarvi and K9 Hunter. He, Chief Deputy Jason Peterson, K9 handlers Lerfald and Peper and Sgt. Ron Boyden attended the graduation ceremony as did Jarvi’s parents, mother-in-law and wife.

“I am very proud of him,” said Todd Jarvi, Ben’s dad. His mom Tammy said, “I’m glad he’s with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. It’s a great unit of people.”

Hunter will live with the Ben and his wife Shannon which makes participation in the K9 program a seven day a week commitment. His wife Shannon said she loves having Hunter in the family and that it was amazing to see the results of the training.

Jarvi is clearly devoted to Hunter. He said he’s glad to have the certification phase behind him and he looks forward to working with his new partner.





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