Without a doubt, the most popular officers on campus are the dogs of the K-9 unit: Diezel and Bosco!
The dogs of the K-9 unit serve a variety of functions. They safeguard the student population and our officers, and are instrumental in reducing violent crime. Their job includes handler protection, suspect apprehension, search and rescue, suspect tracking, area and building searches, narcotics detections and crowd control. They also help “break the ice” between our officers and the community.
Diezel and Bosco joined UMPD in the Summer of 2008, coming from Holland and the Czech Republic respectively. Social skills were a high priority in selecting the dogs for the canine unit. We chose the dogs based on social skills and play drive, rather than their aggression, as these are important traits for successful training. A dog that can interact with large and small groups of people is better equipped to handle the various situations that may arise on a campus environment.
Diezel is a Dutch Shepherd and Bosco is a German Shepherd. Both breeds originate from Europe and have strong work drives. Shepherds make excellent police service dogs. In general, they are intelligent, have a strong work ethic and a steady temperament. They are an adaptable breed that is responsive to various training philosophies and are able to be trained for, and perform, a wide variety of functions.
Our canine teams were initially trained in a rigorous 14 week training course hosted and instructed by the Pittsfield Police Department Canine Unit. Our canine teams currently are members of the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA), The Massachusetts Police Work Dog Association and the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association.
The UMPD K-9 teams area available to assist other area departments and provide demonstrations for schools, organizations and clubs. If you are interested in arranging for the dogs to visit and demonstrate their abilities, contact Unit Coordinator Lt. White, Unit Supervisor Sgt. DeWolf or Canine Handler Ofc. Varosky.