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New canine officer starts work here

The Jamestown Police Department has a new officer. He's 3 years old and he likes chewing on PVC pipe. Odin is the department's new canine officer. He is a Belgian Malinois, and he comes from the

Jamestown Police Officer Andrew Stoen has been training with the department's new dog, Odin, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, for about a month. Chris Olson / The Sun
Jamestown Police Officer Andrew Stoen has been training with the department's new dog, Odin, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, for about a month. Chris Olson / The Sun
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The Jamestown Police Department has a new officer. He's 3 years old and he likes chewing on PVC pipe.

Odin is the department's new canine officer. He is a Belgian Malinois, and he comes from the Grand Island Police Department in Nebraska.

"He (Odin) and the officer he was paired with in Nebraska just didn't click," said Scott Edinger, Jamestown chief of police.

Edinger said the department was able to get Odin for $3,000, which is about a third of how much a new similarly trained dog would cost.

Odin replaces Blaze, a Black Labrador canine officer retired earlier this year after eight years of service. Edinger said at the time of Blaze's retirement the department wanted to replace him, but cost was a factor. In addition to the cost of a new dog, the department needed to replace the vehicle used to transport the dog because the previous patrol car had mechanical issues.

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The department had money set aside to replace the patrol vehicle. Then Edinger got a call from the Grand Island Police Department chief, who asked to see if the Jamestown Police Department would be interested in taking Odin.

With the dog and a new patrol vehicle on the way, Edinger had to pick an officer to be Odin's handler. Enter Officer Andrew Stoen.

"As soon as I heard Blaze was retiring, I went in and talked with the chief (Edinger) to see if we were to get a new one (canine officer)," he said.

Edinger conducted interviews and chose Stoen as Odin's handler. They are partners in that they train together, work together and live together. Stoen said it has been an adjustment, as he and Odin have only been together about a month.

"I lived by myself before and I wasn't used to having a dog," Stoen said. "I have to take care of him, train him, feed him. It's pretty much me and him."

Odin's reward for following commands is chewing on piece of PVC pipe. Stoen said Odin took to the piece of PVC pipe as his reward when they started training together, so he saw no need to change it.

He said he and Odin are getting used to each other.

"He is becoming more friendly with me," Stoen said. "If he is uncomfortable, he will stick right by my side."

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Odin came from the Netherlands, Stoen said. He was trained there so all of the commands he knows are in Dutch.

"Rather than retrain a dog in English, it's easier for the officers to learn the Dutch commands," Stoen said.

Just like Blaze, Odin has his own room when he gets home. Stoen said Odin has a kennel crate, and all his toys in the room.

"It's great in that when we get home, he (Odin) will just go into his room on his own," Stoen said.

Odin is trained in drug detection, tracking and article searching, and he is trained in how to stop people who run away from officers.

Stoen said Belgian Malinois are high-energy dogs, so he makes sure Odin gets plenty of exercise during the day and after work.

Stoen has been training with canine handlers with the Bismarck Police Department. He said working with the Bismarck handlers has helped him develop confidence in handling Odin. Stoen said it is also helpful that Matt Thom, the Stutsman County Sheriff's Department canine handler, is available to help if he has a question.

Stoen said he thinks within the next month or so Odin will be ready to be out in public. He said Odin hasn't really been trained for interaction with the public, but he is a naturally curious and friendly dog.

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"If he wants to approach people, he will and does," he said.

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