The City of Delaware Police Department’s second shift has a new officer ready to sink his teeth into the job.
Tyson, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, and his partner, Officer John Laudeman, have been working and training together for the last seven weeks. Laudeman said the duo is excited to be out on patrol.
Laudeman, who has served as a police officer in three different communities during his career, said becoming a K-9 officer was always something he thought about.
“I was on the fence,” Laudeman said. “I knew it was a lot of work. I have two kids, and I didn’t know if I wanted to commit. Based on the opportunity and what we have going on here, I realized this is what I like and what I want to retire from … I love patrol, and I decided this is what I wanted to get into.”
Laudeman added Tyson received obedience training in France and was trained as a sport dog before being trained as a police dog and passing his state certification exam. He said Tyson is trained in article searches, narcotics detection, suspect apprehension, and handler protection.
“We’ve been together for seven weeks,” Laudeman said. “The biggest challenge is keeping him stimulated. He is so high-drive. This is an alpha dog that wants to control everything.”
Laudeman said Tyson lives with him, and they don’t do any training or commands at home, so Tyson can feel the difference between work and home.
“He needs to feel like home is a safe place where he can relax,” Laudeman said, adding Tyson also gets along well with his family pet, a 5-year-old female German Shepard. “She bosses him around. She’s the mother-type for him. She’s only 40 pounds and he’s 60 pounds, and she’s bossing him around.”
Laudeman and Tyson are still learning each other’s habits, but Laudeman said he’s excited about the future.
“(My favorite thing is) having a partner that goes everywhere with me,” he said. “I love dogs. You’re blending personal life with professional … You have your partners at work and stuff, but this is totally different. He’s a living being. He’s not a machine … It’s about reading their behavior and understanding. We’re basically just trying to facilitate them the best we can. It’s magic.”
Laudeman said he and Tyson are the fifth K-9/officer pairing in the county, and he’s hoping to uphold the reputation set by previous officers.
“I’m looking forward to staying competitive,” Laudeman said. “Reputation is everything … I want all the dogs in the county to be recognized. Between the county and city, I want us to have the best dogs in central Ohio.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.