By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Officer Parker discusses his K-9 partner, Officer Monti, and his skills and abilities during the Citizen’s Police Academy.

Editor

The originally scheduled class featuring 911 Coordinator Jeannine Kaplan to tell us about Dispatch and a K-9 demonstration was altered a bit as Coordinator Kaplan was out of town at a seminar. Instead Detective Jones returned to discuss gangs after the K-9 demo.

First up was Officer Brandon Parker with Monti. Officer Parker has been with the Belvidere Police Dept. for over 21 years. He instructed us how to behave around the department’s K-9 and brought him in to meet us.

“Monti is my third police dog. He is very young and weighs about 90 pounds,” Parker said. “He is almost too big to be a police dog but when I saw how athletic he was, I agreed. We don’t want dogs to be too big because it is hard for them to fit in tight places. Monti is a purebred German Shepherd from the Czech Republic. We bought him for $6500, untrained, from a breeder/master trainer we trust.

“If we were to purchase a fully trained dog, it would cost $18,000. The funds we used were donated from the community to buy a K-9. His name is Monti – spelled with an ‘I’ because that’s the European way. I trained him myself.

“Monti is a general-purpose dog. He does outdoor searches, building searches, and drug searches. He searches for lost children and adults. He tracks and he has apprehended five criminals in the last year. He is the slowest tracking dog I have ever had, but he is very methodical and very accurate. I don’t have to lift him over 6 foot high fences, he can clear them – no problem.

“I use a two-collar system and the collars are loose enough that he can slip out of them. This is so that if the bad guy grabs the collar and tries to twist it to choke the dog, Monti can slip out of the collars and then, look out, because he will go after the bad guys.

“I trim his nails, clean his ears and give him baths I do it all. He is my responsibility.

“It takes 350 hours and about two to three months to take a ‘green’ dog and train him to get him certified as a police dog. When it comes to finding drugs, Monti is called ‘Cash Money’ on the street. In six months, this dog has surpassed what my other dogs have done in nine years.”

Officer Parker answered a few more questions and then he took Monti away and Detective Jones stepped up.

Detective Steve Jones spoke on Traffic Enforcement during an earlier session of the Citizen’s Police Academy. Today, Det. Jones talked of Gangs in the area, past and present. He told us that present day gangs originated in Chicago with early 20th century gangsters. There are over 3 million gang members around the world with over one million in the United States alone. They are operated like multimillion-dollar corporations. Each member pays dues and while they have various source of illegal income, drugs being their number one money maker. Gangs are making sure that members go to school and a number of them become lawyers, accountants, and businessmen.

Gangs, by definition, are an organized group with a…

For complete article, pick up the Sept. 27 Belvidere Republican.