Merrill K9 Officer ‘Eros’ and his partner Lieutenant Matt Drabek, recently returned from a week of annual re-certfication training at the Steinig Tal kennels in Campbellsport, Wis.
As Drabek explains, the pair have their choice of where they choose to train, but choose Steinig Tal for a very specific and important reason.
“That is the kennel where Eros is from. He came there from his hometown in Germany and it’s also where he and I completed 4 weeks of initial training together in 2014,” he said.
“The staff there remember and know Eros very well. They know what we have been trained and certified in, so if there were to be an issue or a question with how Eros is performing the tasks he was trained and certified to do, they could recognize it right away and address it.”
In addition to 40 hours of annual re-certification, the duo also complete a minimum of 16 hours of ‘maintenance’ training, or training to assure their skills remain sharp. Drabek and Eros often complete monthly training with various teams in Marathon County.
Beginning Monday, May 22, and throughout last week; the pair performed various tasks and exercises; to re-certify in the areas of apprehension, officer protection, drug detection, area searches, tracking and article and evidence detection. In addition, If there was a certain area Drabek or staff felt they needed to emphasize on, the pair would then engage in specific training in that area.
Training consisted of apprehension exercises, as well as various scenarios of traffic stops and area searches; with one entire day devoted to re-certifying in drug detection.
Although not exactly the same, the training was very similar to the initial training the duo underwent in 2014, according to Drabek.
Eros recently turned 5, however according to Drabek; rather than showing any sign of slowing down, his partner is just hitting his stride.
“He hasn’t lost a step,” he adds with a grin.
“With maturity and age, he has settled down quite a bit. When he was younger he would act a little high strung at times. And now that we have worked so long together, he knows what I expect and he has just gotten better at what he does. I look forward to his performance peaking over the next couple years.”