Happy puppy ‘Dez’ is the newest Des Moines Police Officer

By Jack Mayne

He is still a puppy but he is the newest addition to the Des Moines Police Department, a young dog named ‘Dez,’ who was introduced to the Des Moines City Council at the Thursday (Jan 24) meeting.

Officer Mike Boehmer said Dez is 15-months old and still “all puppy.” The two, officer and dog, start training in Pierce County on Monday (Jan. 28).

It is the scent
Boehmer said police dogs are taken to a place the “bad guys were at” and that is what the dog hones in on and look for that scent.

“We all give off a certain scent and all of us give off a different kind of scent, it doesn’t matter if you wear cologne, makeup, deodorant,” he said. Fear, he said, enhances the scent “and that is what those dogs focus on.”

“The training is for me, not the dog,” said Boehmer, so he can learn the way the dog reacts and what it means.

“Dogs understand what they are doing, it’s the handler … that needs to understand how to work with these dogs and listen to what they are telling us without them being able to talk to us,” Boehmer said. “Once him and I are on the same page, its a beautiful thing to watch,”

The officer said Dez is being trained as a tracking dog but could be additional trained as a drug search dog later, but he noted that the dog “knows what he is doing, its me who needs to be trained.”

Kent, Tukwila and other nearby cities also have dogs, he said, and can be called in to help if needed, and he, as well will assist neighbor cities, so there is always an access to a dog and handler.

Community support
Des Moines City Clerk Bonnie Wilkins, a member of the Des Moines Police Foundation, told The Waterland Blog that the foundation “found out that there was a need for a K9. The Police Foundation worked with Chief Ken Thomas, Officer Mike Boehmer, and with the support of City Manager Michael Matthias, held a charity auction in September to raise funds to help procure the dog.

“The support of the community was overwhelming,” said Wilkins. “The Foundation raised $32,000 and almost immediately came to Council to present them with a check for $12,000 for travel, training and necessary equipment for both the patrol vehicle and the dog. Other funds raised at the September auction were for the Police Foundation’s annual Shop with a Cop event, Chaplaincy Fund and ongoing support to our Police Department through training, equipment.”

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