Meet Jano.

He’s a 7-year-old German Shepheard who is as fierce as he is handsome.

Jano and his handler Corporal Nathan Birklid are part of the Mason County Sheriff’s Office’s K9 team.

While the Washington State Patrol has the largest K9 team in the state, it doesn’t have one thing: Apprehension K9s. However, the Mason County Sheriff’s Office does, and that’s why they came out to provide training for our WSP cadets.

Although troopers don’t work first-hand with apprehension K9s, they do assist other law enforcement agencies who do. By exposing cadets to these K9s early in their training, they will gain both understanding of K9 operations and also some experience on the do’s and don’ts of being around a working dog.

Take a look at some of the training highlights below.

This literal hands-on experience gave cadets perspective from both sides of the K9 bite training.  It also taught cadets how to get a working dog to release from their bite just in case they are ever tasked to do so.

As you can see in the video, these cadets had fun working with Mason County’s K9’s (who wouldn’t!). But the overall goal was to get them comfortable with the best practices for working and engaging with K9 teams.

The Washington State Patrol is thankful for their partnership with the Mason County Sheriff’s Office who comes and provides this training for free every year.

To learn more about the Mason County Sheriff’s Office K9 program, visit their website here:

While we may not have apprehension dogs, the WSP does have one of the largest drug and explosive detection K9s teams in the country. The Washington State Patrol Canine Training Unit has roots that date back to 1997 when the first two explosive detection teams were deployed. In order to be a WSP K9 handler, troopers and their K9 partners must undergo more than 400 hours for explosive detection training and more than 200 hours for narcotics detection training.