Robbie at the Ready
Robbie, a patrol dog for the Edmond Police Department, is a Dutch Shepherd imported from the Netherlands. He’s five years old and energetic; with extensive training, his energy remains bridled until there is work to be done. He is 70 pounds of muscle with a silky black and brown brindle coat. His big ears are perked up, waiting for his cue. He follows commands spoken in Dutch.
Born to Love
The primary role of the K-9 unit is locating objects, narcotics, or people. A canine’s sense of smell is far superior to that of a human. Robbie is trained to sniff for drugs and to track evidential objects. He also tracks people, either suspects or those in need of rescue. He is gentle, equipped to seek a lost child or an elderly person who may have wandered away from home. Robbie is trained to find ground disturbances. He raises his head, notifying the police that someone is nearby. In evidentiary recovery, Robbie will efficiently scan an area until he finds something significant at which point he will lay down until an officer can recover the item.
Sergeant Joe Rice began his career with the Edmond Police Department 21 years ago and joined the K-9 unit soon after. Prior to joining the force, he worked in a veterinary office and has always been a dog lover. Robbie was trained by Sgt. Rice and has lived with him since he was a puppy. Robbie rides along in the back of the K-9 equipped police cruiser.
Trained to Serve
Robbie knows it’s time to work based on what Sgt. Rice is wearing. “I wear a particular pair of pants for training, and Robbie goes wild. The dogs have a lot of fun in training.” Sgt. Rice explains that the dogs are so intelligent, they have to frequently switch up training techniques and environments, sometimes taking road trips to train with other units. When Sgt. Rice changes into civilian clothes, Robbie knows it’s time to relax and just be a dog. When he dons his police uniform, Robbie is eager to don his own uniform, jump in the cruiser and go to work.
“Robbie has a lot of bling,” says Sgt. Rice. He wears three collars, a fur saver collar, an e-collar that tracks him, and a flat leather collar. Robbie recently added a new vest to his uniform. A Vested Interest in K9s is a nonprofit whose mission is to provide bullet and stab protective vests to dogs of law enforcement agencies. Sgt. Rice filled out an application with the nonprofit, and Robbie was eligible to receive a custom vest valued at $3,000.
To Robbie, work is play. His training makes him fearless, though always heeding Sgt. Rice’s guidance. Sgt. Rice says, “I feel a sense of security with the vest. It’s safer for both officers and suspects to send in a dog, but we want to do all we can to keep Robbie safe.”
Robbie is a natural protector, on alert and always ready. These are characteristics of his breed. As Sgt. Rice moves, Robbie’s eyes remain fixed on him. Sgt. Rice gives a command and Robbie is faithful to follow. The bond between the two is evident. They partner together and remain steadfast in their commitment to protect the citizens of Edmond. Robbie’s vest is embroidered “Born to Love – Trained to Serve – Loyal Always.”