The Avon Police Dept. welcomed its newest member to the force, K-9 Hunter, a 20-month old British Field Lab in May.
Hunter came by way of Mike Watkins K-9 of North Ridgeville. Watkins had approached the department with an idea for a K-9 that could be used in the schools and at community events and not perceived as a traditional police dog. Hunter was donated to the Avon Police Department. Avon agreed to furnish the equipment and cost of training.
Mayor Bryan Jensen and Supt. of Schools Mike Laub were both on board immediately. With the ongoing pandemic and stresses put on students and families, K-9 Hunter can provide a positive diversion for all.
After a lengthy selection process, Officer Jessica Zuk, a three-year veteran of the force, was chosen as handler. Officer Zuk’s years of experience working in various Lorain County schools systems and her knowledge of school operations and students were noted.
Officer Zuk and and K-9 Hunter started their training under the guidance of Master Trainer Mike Watkins and, after several weeks, obtained special purpose Narcotics Detection and Tracking OPOTA certification.
Officer Zuk and Hunter have now met some Avon students in the schools. Their next stops will be senior centers and community events once the time is right.
Officer Zuk and Hunter will also be trained in Therapy K-9 protocols. As an agency that embraces community engagement, Avon Police realize a therapy dog can be a beneficial tool to service residents in unique ways.