IOWA CITY — Earlier this summer, an autistic child went missing from his Johnson County home.
Among the authorities dispatched to search for the boy was one of the two new K-9 teams from the University of Iowa Department of Public Safety.
While the boy was found before Officer Nate Monter and his dog, Hogan, could arrive, the incident showcases one of the ways the K-9 team will be used in the community.
“The university chose him (Hogan) for a lot of different things,” said Monter, who joined UI department in 2015. “We have dementia patients that walk away, children (that go missing). So he can track them off human scent, but when he locates, he’s just happy he found what he was looking for.”
Officer Jerrad Mohling and his K-9 partner, Brad, a German shepherd, form the UI’s other new K-9 team.
Both teams were formed this summer.
Monter and Hogan were matched and trained at F.M. Kennels in Berrien, Mich. Mohling, who joined the UI department in 2016, and Brad completed their training at Shallow Creek Kennels in Sharpsville, Pa.
Brad cost $13,500 to purchase and train. Hogan cost $8,875 to purchase and train, according to UI police public information officer Hayley Bruce.
Both officers said being paired with a dog fulfills a career goal.
“I’ve always had an interest in K-9s and becoming a K-9 officer,” said Mohling, whose previous department didn’t have a K-9 program. “So, when I came here and found out they had a K-9 program, I said that’s something I’d really be interested in and would like to get into eventually. We finally had openings come up. I applied and here I am with Brad.”
Although the dogs are different breeds, both Brad and Hogan are trained in explosives detection as well as tracking.
Brad also is trained in suspect apprehension.
Bruce said both dogs will be used to secure “an increasing number of special events on campus” and help the department’s community policing efforts.
With football season kicking off next week, that means both dogs will be busy.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Mohling said. “That’s his purpose, and I want to give him his opportunity to work and do his thing.”
The two new UI K-9 teams join Officer Jess Bernhard and his dog, Jago, who have been working together since January 2015.
The department has had a K-9 program for more than a decade.
Bernhard and Mohling trained at the same kennel, and Monter said they’ve relied extensively on Bernhard’s experience.
“He has so much knowledge about handling, about dogs,” Monter said. “I have relied on him quite a bit.”
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