Recently the Sedalia Police Department added two canine officers to its department. Officers Bill Connor and Travis Lorenz, along with their canine partners Gallo and Charlie, will be working together to fight the growing drug problem in Sedalia.
Both Gallo and Charlie are single purpose K-9 officers and they are used to sniff out several kinds of drugs, including marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin.
Gallo and Charlie are both of the Belgian Malinois breed. Gallo is just over two years old and Charlie is just under two years old.
“Gallo came out of Guadalajara. He comes from a Mexican breeder,” Officer Connor said.
He added, “Even 20 years ago they didn’t start training working dogs until they are about one-and-a-half years old. A lot of it is the waiting for their personality to come out,” Connor explained.
The purchase and training for the canine officers came from monies seized during drug arrests. According to Officer Connor, the purchase and training for each canine unit came in around $6,500.
Both Officer Connor and Lorenz recently returned from a week long training course at the Little Rock K-9 Academy, where they had a chance to work with and familiarize themselves with Gallo and Charlie.
“We went there on the 25th of October. We’ve got to work with them for about two weeks. We are both first handlers with them,” Officer Connor said.
Officer Connor was asked how the new dogs were acclimating to being on active duty.
“You don’t know how they are going to act. They have never spent a whole day in a car. You wonder how the lights and sirens will affect them,” Connor said.
Connor also spoke of some of the things that the training course consisted of.
“There were 10 of us in a class. It was about evenly split between single purpose and multi-purpose units. It was right at a week. Going through the process, you start with the basic ins and outs with the dogs, things like canine first aid,” Connor explained.
Officer Connor was asked if this was the first time he has worked in a K-9 Unit.
“I had a dog when I worked for the county in the 90s, but the Sedalia Police Department hasn’t had K-9 Units for awhile now,” he said.
This is the first time Officer Lorenz has worked as a K-9 officer. Officer Lorenz was unavailable due to his job the day of the interview. Photo by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.