The Minot Police Department officially introduced its new K-9 unit Thursday afternoon.
The new unit marks the first time the department has had more than one K-9 unit.
The dog is a 22-month-old Belgian Shepard, also known as a Belgian Malinois. He was named Manus Trinity in honor of Trinity Health system, which paid for half of the cost of the dog and the training involved. Manus comes from the Gaelic word for "great."
Handling Officer Titus Clouse stands with Manus Trinity at a press conference Thursday. Together, they form the second K-9 unit currently in use by the police department.
Trinity Health CEO John Kutch was presented with a plaque by Police Chief Jason Olson "in honor of (Trinity's) generous gift, which allowed the Minot Police Department to obtain an additional police service dog."
The gift was described as "one of our strategic operatives at Trinity Health," Kutch said. "We specifically seek out opportunities like this one to partner with the communities that we serve to improve safety and health within those communities."
"In the presence of a police K-9 unit there is a deterrent effect on criminal behavior," Olson said. "They're used for locating drugs, they're used for locating objects. Our previous K-9s have found weapons from crime scenes... They're a very valuable tool for us. They increase the safety of the officers and to the community."
"This is the first time we've had two dogs in the city; we've always had one dog," said officer Titus Clouse, the dog's handler. Clouse said the intention of the department going forward is to maintain two dogs.
Manus and Clouse have been out of training since Oct. 15.
Within days of being deployed into the field, the team was called out to search a car that had been stopped in traffic. Manus was able to locate methamphetamines, marijuana, and even a firearm that resulted in a felony charge.
To prove Manus' abilities, the police had hidden 28 grams of marijuana just behind a door to the room the conference was held in Thursday. Clouse walked Manus around the room, and Manus went wild at the door before kneeling on the floor to alert the handler he had discovered drugs.
As a treat, Clouse tossed a tennis ball which immediately sent the dog into a frenzy over the ball and got laughter from everyone in the room.
Manus was imported from Holland, and Saiber, the other K-9 dog that has been at work since 2007, was imported from the Czech Republic.
"Basically you get a better quality dog over there," said Sgt. David Chapman, Saiber's handler. "Europe breeds dogs for workability; the U.S. breeds dogs for homes.
Chapman was promoted to sergeant from senior patrolman in July, which makes him ineligible to become a handler for any new dog when Saiber is expected to retire from the workforce in 2015.
"They generally go through a few months of depression," Chapman said of how police dogs adjust to becoming a pet. He said they watch you go to work every day and they feel depressed because they're no longer involved.
While still employed, police dogs have set rules at home so they won't feel like a pet, which might soften their workability.
Still, Clouse said Manus plays with the German short-haired dog he keeps as a pet.
"You have to have that bonding," Clouse said of why he picked Manus from the four dogs who were presented to him. The team trained at Vohne Liche Kennels, in Denver, Ind., which specializes in service dogs.
Clouse, who is also a member of the SWAT team, felt grateful and proud of his new position. He considers being a K-9 handler to be the premier job for a law enforcement officer.
"A lot of people want the job, but only a few get it."