Deputy: K9 Detector Trials At Casino Went Well

Larchwood, Iowa — Police dogs descended upon Grand Falls Casino near Larchwood this past weekend. But it wasn’t a drug bust, it was a contest of sorts.

According to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, they were selected to host the United States Police K9 Association 2020 Region 21 Detector Dog Trials, which were supposed to be in early April. Lyon County Deputy Kyle Munneke tells us that just like with everything else, COVID restrictions caused a change in plans.

(as said:) “The whole COVID thing happened this spring a lot of departments started to pull out. They were restricting travel and training for their officers. And then also the casino had their changes in restrictions also, so we rescheduled the event for October 18, 19, and 20.”

He tells us about the turnout.

(as said:) “We had 55 dogs total for the event, which is a larger number than normal. This spring, we actually had right at 70 dogs registered. I think there’s a few that still had some travel restrictions. So we had a little bit smaller number but still a good turnout for what’s normal. We had several dogs come out of Minnesota, which hasn’t happened in a few years. So it was nice to see them come down and join us.”

Munneke says for the most part it went well.

(as said:) “I had great response from the handlers that it worked well. They had plenty of space and controlled environments to have a fair trial for each person.”

He gives us an idea of what it’s like.

(as said:) “All the scenarios are held indoors, but there is a outdoor search it’s called for vehicles… vehicles in the street would be outdoors, but they’re held indoors for days like today when it’s raining. There’s a scenario of multiple vehicles set out. And there’s hides… drug hides… in those vehicles and then same thing with the rooms. And then there’s multiple judges that are observing you and observing your dog and taking notes and scoring your performance.”

According to Munneke, one of Lyon County’s own dogs took top honors.

(as said:) “Rob Vermeer, the Chief Deputy at our office and canine Athos scored first place in the vehicle search… first placed in all the dogs, and not just on a certain day. And then the overall dog for the entire event… both days… was where we got our two dogs in Lyon County from — North Iowa Canine — and that’s Paul Samuelson and K9 Voodoo from the Fort Dodge Police Department. “

He tells us that the dogs are tested on the odors of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. He says some dogs are not trained on marijuana, and those dogs get two of another of the odors to make it fair.

Munneke says they couldn’t have done it without the support of Lyon County citizens, businesses, and organizations.

(as said:) “Our main sponsor was the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation. They provided the largest amount and that was extremely helpful for us. Frontier Bank, People’s Bank, Premier Bank, Doon Elevator Company, Rock Bottom Construction, and DRG Mechanical that all provided a large donation and was very helpful for us. The Grand Falls Casino was also very helpful… provided a great experience for everybody visiting. The Lyon County Conservation provided some of the areas that we used and also Eric Schuler, who owns some property in Lyon County. So without them, the event would not have happened. “

He says all of the meals and many of the other expenses are paid for by the department hosting the event — in this case the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, through the donations given.

Caption: Lyon County K9 Rizzo (file photo)



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