APD Officer Finn Almost Ready to Hit Streets

Nationwide search, constant training and a special dog produce new officer

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The newest member of the Arlington Police Department is almost ready to start patrolling the streets. K9 Officer Finn, was recruited to take Vic's place in the K9 Unit after he died from cancer. (Published Wednesday, May 16, 2012)

    The newest member of the Arlington Police Department is almost ready to start patrolling the streets.

    K9 Unit Officer Vic died of cancer in October after serving the department for six years.

    After a nationwide search, K9 Officer Finn, was recruited to take Vic's place and has been going through training to take his place in the department.

    Being a K9 Officer is not for just any German Shepherd.

    "We look for dogs that have these drives, these subconscious impulses to want to do something," said Vic's partner Officer Bobby Muguerza. "Like this dog loves to go to work."

    Training is constant, even in play.

    "So even when it looks like we're playing around we're actually teaching him the commands that we actually say when we find a bad guy." said Muguerza.

    Training lasts an average of three months and is tailored to the dog's personality.

    "There's a lot of work that goes into it from the bite work to the detection work to the obedience work," said Arlington Police K9 Sgt. Brett McDonnell.

    "He's with me 24 hours a day, I joke that I spend more time with him than I do my wife, but it's true," said Muguerza."You get such a close bond with these dogs after working with them, being with them 24 hours a day and also using these dogs to catch these bad guys that thought they would escape."

    And the K9 officer's personality matters considering he is with his handler in tense situations.

    "They treat it as an officer, they consider it as a partner. They go out into the dark places alone with these dogs and in the time that I've been here there have been times where the dogs have saved the officer through detection," said McDonnell.

    The search, purchase and training of a K9 officer costs around $13,000. Finn's purchase was made possible by the Arlington Police Foundation, Hispanic Citizen's Police Academy and the Citizen's Police Academy.

    Finn will be on patrol in a few weeks.