Krypto, an 18-month-old Dutch shepherd, is the newest addition to the Metropolis Police Department’s K-9 unit.
Harry Masse, director of the Metropolis Department of Public Safety, said Kypto and his handler, officer Nick Holland, recently graduated from an intense certification and training academy.
The K-P unit plays an important role in the community.
“Not only is it a good community policing tool — because the kids like talking to the canine officer — everybody loves the dog,” Masse said.
“The dog is also trained in narcotics detection, so we use him on traffic stops and search warrants, stuff like that.”
The dog is also used for tracking, according to Masse.
“We have a combination of five nursing homes and assisted living facilities here in town, so if we have walkaways, or a kid that gets lost, the dog is also trained to track,” he said.
“We also do mutual aid for Massac County, Pope County, and Illinois State Police. We have the only dog down here. Union County has a dog, and the Illinois State Police, other than that there are no other (police) canines in the area. The potential for its use is great.”
The relationship between the dog and its handler is particularly important, according to Masse, since handler protection is also part of Krypto’s job description.
“It’s not like in the military, where the dog is kenneled,” he said. “The dog is assigned to Officer Holland. He takes it home with him, and it’s part of the family.”
The canine officer is a volunteer position, and candidates are interviewed by the public safety director.
“You try to match personalities and so forth. Officer Holland’s got a great community spirit so it really works out well,” said Masse.
The K-9 unit’s popularity and integral functions mean it’s like to be around for a while, according to Massey.
“The only thing we could get that might be more popular if we could ... is a horse,” he said.