K-9 Officer Marshall joins the force

HARRINGTON — Officer Marshall has already begun chasing down people and hunting for dangerous items in Harrington, according to his now-trained partner Corporal Richard Baker.

Cpl. Baker met K-9 Officer Marshall in Tarheel, N.C. after the pup arrived from the Czech-Republic. The pair stayed in North Carolina for four weeks to get to know one another and train together before coming back to Delaware to train for another eight weeks at the Delaware State Police K-9 Academy.DSC_0100

But the process didn’t start in North Carolina, according to Harrington Police Chief Norman Barlow.

Before the new unit could be paired together, human officers had to apply for the position.

“One of Ricky’s goals was to be a K-9 officer. We know we chose the right one. His passion and drive with this unit has been remarkable. I think Ricky will be one of the best K-9s we’ve had in years,” Chief Barlow said.

The department received a grant last year to purchase Officer Marshall and help with vet bills, food, related equipment and other necessities. After a pre-planned two-week vacation for Cpl. Baker, the unit began serving the city of Harrington in December of 2015.

Yearly maintenance is about $1,000-$1,200 depending on the health of the dog, according to Chief Barlow. Harrington’s K-9 unit is trained in crowd control and narcotics and receives extra training monthly at the Delaware State Police K-9 Academy.

Although Officer Marshall can be aggressive thanks to the training he has received, he is “ very friendly and lays around for all the guys at the station,” Cpl. Baker said. The 2-yearold K-9 also goes home with his partner and is friendly around other immediate family members.

“Everybody thinks it’s just like having a pet, but there’s so much more that goes into it. Especially for someone like me who hasn’t done it yet. It’s so much more responsibility. Now I have my K-9. I’m basically responsible for his health,” Cpl. Baker said of his new pal.

“I don’t want the average citizens petting Marshall,” Chief Barlow added. “But it all comes down to the handler. He knows what to do when called. When he’s in his vehicle, he knows it’s work. It’s good to have a partner out on patrol.”

To aid Officer Marshall in his new role with the Harrington Police Department, Cpl. Baker has a police vehicle complete with a buzzer that lets him know when the vehicle is too warm for his K-9 companion. Cpl. Baker can also fling a back door wide open with the click of a button should he need Officer Marshal to spring out on the attack.

Chief Barlow said although it’s been just a couple of years since the department has had a K-9 on patrol, it’s been 15 years or longer since they’ve had a dual purpose dog available for narcotic cases, as well.

“In the long run, it’s going to benefi t us tremendously. It’s great to have that extra deterrent,” he said.

Officer Marshall stays with Cpl. Baker, but is available to help no matter which officer is in need.

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