K-9 Demonstration Gets A 10

Kristina Vakhman, News Photography Editor

For three-year-old German Shephard Diezel, fetch is finding evidence and playtime is apprehending suspects.

“He loves to do it,” Diezel’s human partner Middletown Police Department Officer Aura Smith said. “You can see his tail going. He’s happy.”

Diezel – with a ‘z’ because “it sounds better,” Smith explained – stole the crowd’s attention during a K-9 demonstration hosted by Central Connecticut’s Criminal Justice Club last Tuesday, flaunting his skills in everything from the preciseness of his nose when he sniffed out one student’s randomly-thrown keys to the strength of his teeth by latching on to a bite sleeve.

“We wanted to show people how cool K-9 dogs are in action,” senior criminology major Ivan Garcia, the club’s president, said.

Diezel’s obedience and mastery is the manifestation of Smith’s training – and of a passionate love for a yellow rubber ball that he gets as a treat for his work. Bred overseas in Eastern Europe and brought to the United States, he became Smith’s partner about two years ago with no training. She taught him all he knows.

Kristina Vakhman

“Everything is through me. Everything he gets is through me,” Smith said.

“This is fun for him. It’s very rewarding for him. He likes to do it. But everything’s gotta be on my terms,” Smith furthered as Diezel held on to the bite sleeve she’d instructed him to clamp his teeth into. When she ordered him to let go, he gently did as told.

Kristina Vakhman

Diezel’s track record shows he’s good at what he does. In February, he helped capture a stolen car suspect, according to The Middletown Press and WTNH reported that he found two car burglary suspects in May.

“The bread and butter of police K-9 work is tracking. It’s finding evidence articles or people,” Smith said, adding that Diezel can also locate narcotics and something as small as a shred of clothing. “He won’t use his eyes. He’ll use his nose.”

Diezel and Smith’s demonstration left students of mixed majors impressed. Senior Paula Lucarelli, a criminal justice major and a club member, came to see what the job of a K-9 handler entails.

“I just really wanted to see the K-9 and ask questions about what the job is about,” she said.

Gaby Bierwirth, a second-year senior in the counseling in higher education graduate program, was happy to finally see one of the “furry companions that are part of the force.”

“Seeing how incredibly trained that dog is was absolutely awesome. He had more control than I do,” she said.

“I also really loved learning about the training that they go through and the skills that they have, seeing it in action and hearing about the bond that the officer has with her K-9 partner. Plus, I mean, he was super cute,” Bierwirth went on.