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Sheriff's Dept. welcomes Bruce PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chris Lee   

A 2.5-year-old Belgian Malinois is the newest “officer” working for Phillips County Sheriff’s Office.

Bruce is the newest partner to Deputy Michael Grant who has spent the last few months getting acquainted with the tracking dog.

Bruce will be used as a drug and tracking dog for the sheriff’s office.

Bruce is the newest addition to the Phillips County
Sheriff’s Office. He will be used as a search and tracking
dog. Bruce will be seen with handler Deputy Michael Grant.

—Enterprise photo

Last year, the sheriff’s office obtained a dog, Ace, and attempted to train him themselves. Ace’s drive and demeanor just weren’t there, according to Grant, so the department decided to move in another direction.

Bruce comes from the Netherlands where he was trained at a young age. He made his way to Tulsa, Okla., where the sheriff’s office found him.

Grant doesn’t quite know how to explain it, but said, “It’s like the Super Bowl over there (Netherlands).” He said dog training is just what they do.

Bruce spent two weeks with Grant in Holyoke for the bonding period before the duo traveled back to Oklahoma for two weeks for the handling course. Those who run into Bruce and Grant may notice Grant using odd words when talking to Bruce. Bruce’s commands are all given in Dutch.

The deputy said he was given a list of about 20 commands which are all in Dutch.

While in Oklahoma, Bruce became fully certified in drugs and tracking. About three weeks ago, Grant and Bruce got state certified as well. As with Ace, Grant said state certification isn’t necessary but plays a key role should a case hit the court system.

Grant said Bruce has become very protective in the short time they have been together. “He’s very nice,” Grant said. “He is good with people but a little skittish.”

Upon first glance, people will notice a notch out of Bruce’s right ear. Grant said another dog got a hold of it while Bruce was in a kennel.

Bruce is able to track by following dead skin cells. Grant said pieces of food placed on footsteps was how Bruce was initially trained. As he got better, the food was taken away a little at a time until he was able to pick up on the dead skin cells. When tracking, Bruce goes from footstep to footstep.

Bruce practices every day he is on duty. Grant usually sets up at least two drug searches a day and at least one tracking a week.

Bruce has already dipped his feet into the work pool. He has conducted two local trackings on criminal cases and has also done some drug detection in surrounding counties.

Seeing how there are a limited number of dogs in the 13th Judicial District, Grant said Bruce is available to nearby law enforcement agencies who need him.

Phillips County Sheriff’s Office obtained a $10,000 grant from the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado. $8,400 of the grant was used to purchase Bruce and pay for the handler course for Grant. The rest will provide food and other necessities.

Bruce should be working with Grant for around six to eight years, at which time his work career will come to a close.

“He’s just phenomenal,” Grant said.

Holyoke Enterprise December 15, 2011