School Resource Officer (SRO) Sgt. Brian Walters and his four-legged companion Officer Raven successfully completed their training in Texas and attended their graduation today, December 13. Walters explained the experience stating, “The training was probably the hardest training I have ever had physically and mentally. Raven is amazing, she’s got such a great attitude. She is a very loving dog. I think the community has gained a great Officer and canine. She is going to be great for the school and in the community.”
The two officers have been busy training in Texas for the past two weeks. Sgt. Walters shared about all he learned while away, stating, “It’s very challenging going into the training as a police officer. You would think that you would know some of the stuff, but it was like day one all over again.” Officer Raven is certified in drug recognition, tracking and community involvement, but is not bite trained.
“I learned a lot of things just from the dog,” Sgt. Walters shared. Since Officer Raven is certified in tracking, Sgt. Walters gave an example of how the canine could help in searches stating, “If we ever have anybody who were to go missing, she is certified to track individuals that either run or just go missing, like the ballerina at the lake last year.”
Raven is received through a grant and will cause no additional cost to the MCPD, including her health insurance which covers yearly shots and sickness. The current liability insurance carried for the MCPD will not change insurance premiums. Sgt. Walters commented on the grant opportunity, stating, “The best part about all of this, is that Raven was 100 percent completely free to the department. The organization we got her from was called Animal Farm. They do rescue animals and get them second chances in life to become service dogs or in this case a police canine.”
Sgt. Walters explained Raven’s history, sharing, “Raven was actually found abandoned and pregnant. She was in horrible health. The Animal Farm took her in and she had her puppies. Raven also served some time in Rutgers State Prison working in a women’s unit, where they train dogs for obedience. She had such a high drive they recommended that she go into the police canine program.” Sgt. Walters had applied for the grant and was one of a few officers selected to have a canine dog.
Sgt. Walters believes in the importance of continuing education for officers throughout their career. He stated this was an amazing experience, commenting, “It’s a whole different aspect of law enforcement than I am used to. I really try to explain to the new guys that as a police officer you have to learn something new every day, every month and every year to be the best officer you can be.” He explained this training, saying, “This is by far the most challenging part I’ve ever had in my career, but it’s also the most rewarding.”
Sgt. Walters spoke about how this opportunity can benefit the Monroe City community, stating, “Raven will be working with the kids in school and in the streets fighting narcotic crime.” Sgt. SRO Walters and Officer Raven will begin their team work on Monday, December 16.