Chisago County deputy and partner take third in K-9 competition

Deputy Stenson kneels down to Stryker’s level outside of his patrol vehicle.  Photo supplied
Deputy Stenson kneels down to Stryker’s level outside of his patrol vehicle.
Photo supplied

At the Region 12 USPCA search and narcotics certification competition March 11-12 in Winona, Chisago County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chad Stenson and his K-9 partner, Stryker, took home third place.
The day before the competition, the dogs do a scent recognition of the narcotics that they are going to be using. The organizers put them in different rooms so the dogs can get used to the scent.
The dogs and handlers are judged on their search pattern around the vehicles, how the handlers hold the leashes, and their confidence in their dogs. Other aspects are also evaluated.
“Stryker’s a great dog,” Stenson said. “I just hold the leash, and he does all the work.”
There were two parts of the competition: vehicles and rooms. There were five vehicles with two narcotic hides. The dogs have 10 minutes to find the hides. Stryker found both of them. He and Stenson got a perfect score of 100, so it came down to their time, which was 1 minute and 53 seconds.
“Stryker is a passive dog, so when he finds the drugs, he sits to alert me where the drugs are,” Stenson said. “It was really fun. It was my first one, so I was excited.”
Stryker came to the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office June 16, 2016. Stenson and Stryker went through a 12-week training program through McDonough K-9 training in Blaine. Stenson gives credit to Mark McDonough; his partners, Deputy Dustin Swenson and Sgt. Scott Berg; and New Hope’s handler, Tony Robles.
“If it wasn’t for those guys, Stryker wouldn’t be as good as he is,” Stenson said.
Styrker is a dual-purpose dog. He does narcotic detection and criminal apprehension for when people run away from the police. Drug dogs are needed for police departments to locate narcotics that can lead to other crimes such as stolen property, stolen guns, and other various severe crimes.
Stryker lives with Stenson, who provides a heated garage with a big kennel for his partner. Also, he has a fenced-in backyard on 1 acre so Stryker can enjoy his freedom. Stenson absolutely loves having a K-9 for a partner.
“It’s a blast,” he said. “I enjoy going to work every day. I think it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever done in law enforcement. It’s awesome to have such a loyal partner that’s by your side all the time.”

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