Starkville K9 assists in drug searches, patrol
When Parker Madeen, the head of the Starkville K9 Police Department, first encountered the SPD’s K9 Kojack, he knew Kojack was the perfect dog not only for duty, but also to be his partner.
Madeen traveled from Starkville to Indiana in search of a dog to assist the SPD in the drug and missing person searches. Madeen encountered several dogs during his first day at the training site, but Kojack was the one he immediately bonded with.
“That Thursday night we were just lying in the backyard,” Madeen said. “He had a lot of energy and just run and run. So I set down in the grass, and he actually came over and rubbed up against me and lay on my lap. I said, ‘Okay, he’s my dog.’ “
K9 Kojack is a 2 year old German shorthair pointing dog from Hungary who assists the SPD in patrolling and searching for narcotics. After a month of training, Kojack and Madeen officially started their partnership with SPD in June 2021.
Kojack was trained in drug detection and tracking fleeing suspects or lost and missing people. Madeen motivates Kojack with balls and toys, and once Kojack completes his mission, he is rewarded with toys and praise.
“You basically make it a game for them,” Madeen said. “They don’t really care what drugs are. When they smell this smell, it is their game, their prey. They are imbued with every medicine and for the next month or so, it only reinforces that smell and the reward process for them.
After a donation from the nonprofit dog protection organization Vested Interest, Kojack will soon receive a bulletproof vest to keep him on his toes at work. This bulletproof and stabbing vest is worth $ 960 and will ship within the next six to eight weeks. Madeen said he was delighted that Kojack was protected by a vest like human officers are.
Kojack and Madeen stay together 24/7, not only as business partners, but also as family members. When Kojack is done working for the day, he comes home in the evening with Madeen, making sure their bond remains intact. Aside from the month of training before starting work at SPD, Kojack and Madeen also train nearly 50 hours per month to maintain Kojack’s skills.
Madeen said Kojack has been instrumental in the SPD, particularly in aiding proactivity by giving officers access to some things humans cannot perform, such as identifying the probable cause of the dig. cars. Madeen said Kojack also helped overall morale in the department.
“The officers love it,” Madeen said. “When they hear him in the room, they’ll call him to come and play. It gives them a break from what they see on the streets.
SPD chief Mark Ballard echoed Madeen, saying Kojack has greatly benefited the department.
“Kojack is an incredible investment for our organization,” said Ballard. “During his short stay in our department, he proved that dogs are very special in their abilities. We are fortunate to have additional equipment that protects it.
Madeen said his initial goal when he entered law enforcement was to be a K9 master, and he couldn’t imagine working with any dog other than Kojack.
“I literally get paid to play with a dog,” Madeen said. “It was awesome. Just by taking him and dragging him into something new and watching him accomplish that. It is an extremely proud moment.