Po­lice depart­ment wel­comes new­est K-9 of­fi­cer

The Phoenix - - FRONT PAGE - By Mar­ian Den­nis mden­nis@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Mar­i­anDen­nis1 on Twit­ter

LIM­ER­ICK » Lim­er­ick’s new­est po­lice of­fi­cer was wel­comed pub­licly this week and he’s ea­ger to em­bark on the next chap­ter of his ca­reer.

Rambo is a 2½-year-old Bel­gian Mali­nois that re­cently be­came the new­est K-9 of­fi­cer of the Lim­er­ick Po­lice Depart­ment. Rambo was born in Ger­many and moved to the United States when he was a lit­tle over a year old.

“He spent some time with the FBI team but was a lit­tle hes­i­tant about jump­ing out of he­li­copters so we were for­tu­nate enough to get him and he’s been great ever since,” said Rambo’s han­dler, Of­fi­cer Chris Wienczek.

He and Wienczek spent eight weeks train­ing to­gether at the Pro­gres­sive K9 Train­ing Academy in Al­len­town where Rambo learned to de­tect nar­cotics and Wienczek learned how to read Rambo’s body lan­guage.

“We trained him in nar­cotics de­tec­tion so he’s trained to de­tect mar­i­juana, co­caine, metham­phetamine, ec­stasy and heroin,” ex­plained Wienczek. “Train­ing with him started out sim­ple. It was just a plain towel throw with the dog and then it pro­gressed into scent de­tec­tion where we in­cluded the nar­cotic scent in the tow­els so he that he got used to what to look for. Learn­ing how to read his body lan­guage and when he was on scent and when he’s not is what I had to learn. I had to learn what his signs were.”

Lim­er­ick Po­lice were able to bring Rambo onto the team with some fi­nan­cial help from long­time Lim­er­ick res­i­dent Speck Lan­dis, who es­ti­mated his do­na­tion at around $30,000.

“It’s very im­por­tant. I’ve been in the town­ship since the 50s and I was in the restau­rant busi­ness in Lim­er­ick for many many years and I did very well and dogs were my first pri­or­ity,” said Lan­dis. “I had al­ways had dogs ... I just knew they only had one dog and I thought they needed another one so I do­nated a few dol­lars for the dog.”

“If it wasn’t for him, a lot of the fund­ing, we don’t know where

we would have got­ten it be­cause he has been very gen­er­ous in sup­port­ing our K-9 unit,” said Lt. Robert Mata­lavage.

Lan­dis’ do­na­tion helped pay for the pur­chase of the dog, the train­ing and some of the equip­ment Rambo will need. The depart­ment is also in the process of get­ting a bul­let­proof vest for Rambo as he con­tin­ues his work on the force.

In ad­di­tion to Wienczek, Rambo is part of the K-9 unit con­sist­ing of Of­fi­cer Kevin McGuigan and his K-9 part­ner Flynn, who is trained in pa­trol and ex­plo­sives de­tec­tion. The pair have been work­ing to­gether since 2011.

Rambo has been work­ing with Lim­er­ick Po­lice since the be­gin­ning of June and al­though he has yet to make his first cap­ture, the depart­ment is ex­cited to add another mem­ber to its K-9 unit.

“When their dogs make a cap­ture it’s like watch­ing your son in a lit­tle league game hit a home run,” said Mata­lavage. “You’re proud as hell.”

Of­fi­cer Chris Wienczek with K-9 part­ner Rambo (left), Speck Lan­dis (cen­ter) and Of­fi­cer Kevin McGuigan with K-9 part­ner Flynn stand to­gether out­side the Lim­er­ick Town­ship Po­lice Depart­ment. Photo by Mar­ian Den­nis

PHOTO BY MAR­IAN DEN­NIS

Of­fi­cer Christo­pher Wienczek stands with new K-9 part­ner, Rambo. Rambo is trained in nar­cotics de­tec­tion and pa­trol.

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