Fresh from graduation and his first day on the job, K9 Officer Apollo and his handler Lt. Kevin Morse visited the Moniteau County Crime Watch group Dec. 4.
A Belgian malinois and only one-and-a-half-year-old, Apollo is 65 pounds, full of energy all day long, a fast runner and can jump six feet up from a sitting position, Morse said. After 11 years in law enforcement, this fulfills a career goal for Morse, he said.
The pair completed more than 320 hours of training in two months at the Boone County Fairgrounds culminating in 13 tests Dec. 2. Now certified and working shifts with the sheriff's department, the pair will continue training to maintain their certifications.
Apollo is good at tracking, Morse said. He also is trained in six distinct drug odors, protection and aggression.
"He's going to be very good for the county," Morse said. "He's one heck of a dog."
He said he was grateful to the group and others in the county who donated to cover the purchase of Apollo and the accompanying expenses for training and gear.
Members of the group showed an interest in further supporting the K9 officer with a vest. Morse said a vest, which would protect Apollo from bullets and knives, would be useful, but it is expensive.
In other business, the crime watch discussed helping rural churches develop emergency response plans, not just for threats and natural disasters, but even for health issues, such as if someone were to suffer a heart attack during a service.
Members also discussed ideas for future meeting topics, such as hands-on tutorials and educational videos about a variety of emergency preparedness skills, from candle-making to how to operate an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator).
The group will meet again at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 8, 2018, in Jamestown.