By Anne Eickstadt

K-9 officer Montie demonstrated his skills to the class as he located drugs and attacked a threat (with an assisting officer) and eagerly waited for the chance to do even more if Officer Parker allowed him to.


The originally scheduled class on DUI was postponed until next session due to a conflict Officer Parker and K-9 Officer Montie had with another event. This re-adjusted class focused on Dispatch and the K-9 Unit which was originally scheduled for the fifth session.

First up was 9-1-1 Coordinator Jeanine Kaplan. “We are the first link to the Fire Dept., Belvidere Police Dept., the Boone County Sheriff’s Dept., and EMS. We have a complete CAD [Computer Assisted Dispatch] system. We are also connected to the Secretary of State’s information base so we can check warrants, driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations, and more for the patrol officers.

“There are four women working in Dispatch right now. We don’t have anything against men working in Dispatch, they just don’t seem to multi-task as well as women do. The last man to complete the training and probation period in Dispatch was Chief Woody. He started out in Dispatch.

“Everyone working in Dispatch has to be certified for Total Response. They need a Law Enforcement certification, Fire Dispatch Certification, and Emergency Medical Dispatch Certification. They also need to re-certify every two years. They need to go through a one-year training program and undergo a one-year probationary period. “We have extensive in-house training with a six-month side-by-side period where the trainee works in tandem with a trainer. Then there is a six-month observation period. It takes a lot to learn 9-1-1, deal with calls, and the public. We do not have a high turnover rate – we do it because we love it. We do have one opening right now because one of our ladies now has a baby to look after.

“Trainees have a 50 percent failure rate because they cannot multitask fast enough.

“Boone County has a small department. We dispatch for all emergency services: the Capron ambulance, Lifeline ambulance, Boone County Fire Districts 1, 2, and 3, the Belvidere Police Dept. and the Boone County Sheriff’s Dept. We also dispatch for Animal Control, the Coroner’s Office, and the Township emergency systems – severe weather sirens, flash floods, snowplows, etc.

“We monitor the courthouse – the judges have alarms if they need them. We also input wanted warrants into the state system. We test the severe weather sirens at 10 a.m. on the first Tuesday of the month, if the time is not exact, please forgive us, we’re busy. We have trained spotters watching for severe weather and the National Weather Service notifies us about severe storm warnings. We set off the tornado alarms in the county.

“When you call 9-1-1, we will ask ‘Where is your emergency?’ first, then ‘What is your emergency?’ We do this so that whatever your emergency is, we know where to find you. Then we find out which personnel to send to your location.”

More questions will round out needed information for Dispatch. Whether you are at the scene or calling for someone else, how many people are there, is the injured person breathing and conscious, are there any animals at the scene who will try to protect their person from the people coming to help, and more.

If you accidentally call 9-1-1, or your toddler playing with the phone does, stay on the line. Dispatch is going to send someone anyway to make sure it is not a situation of someone being in danger or under duress.

“We take about 40,000 calls per year. About half of them each day are medical calls.”

If you watch the TV show “9-1-1,” “It’s a farce,” Kaplan said. “While I am glad that Dispatch is being recognized, they are going for ratings, not accuracy.”

She then took the class on a modified tour of the Dispatch area and the Safety Building. When the class returned to the room, Officer Brandon Parker took over. He instructed us how to behave around the department’s K-9 and brought him in to meet us.

“Montie is 14 months old and weighs about 85 pounds,” Parker said. “He is almost too big to be a police dog. He is a purebred German Shepherd from the Czech Republic. He bought him for $6500, untrained, from a breeder/master trainer we trust. If we were to purchase a fully trained dog, it would cost – and we get a discount – $18,000.

“We prefer to buy our dogs from

For complete article, pick up the March 7 Belvidere Daily Republican.

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTOS Belvidere Daily Republican
The class tour of the Public Safety Building included a visit to the Patrol Room where officers can type their reports.