Columbus adds K-9 to police force

(WISH Photo)

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) — The Columbus Police Department added a K-9 this week after the dog and his handler went through four weeks of training.

Niko, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois, is working with Officer Chad Lehman.

“I just enjoy working with the dogs,” Lehman said. “It just amazes me how they can go find somebody or find the narcotics in the vehicles.”

Lehman worked with a dog named Rex for eight years. Rex apprehended more than 200 people. He helped police find more than seven pounds of meth last year, but Rex retired three months ago.

“Rex was just a unique dog,” Lehman said. “Niko’s got the qualities to do that. I hope that I’ll be able to get those qualities out of him.”

Lehman and Niko spent four weeks training in Michigan. They studied how to follow footprints, sniff out drugs and chase suspects.

Another CPD dog, Max, took the same course. His handler recently retired, but Max isn’t ready to quit. He had to be retrained with Officer Jeremy Jones.

“They build that bond so tight with each handler,” Jones said. “When I got him, he barked two days straight probably missing his old handler.”

This is Jones’ first week as a K-9 handler.

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