He’s the youngest member of the West Fargo Police Department, but Brewtus, the 15-month old German Shepherd K-9 officer is quickly learning the ropes alongside his partner, Officer Brock Ackerman.
“He’s a puppy, so he’s still got plenty of puppy in him, but I’ve been very impressed with him out on the street,” Ackerman said. “He’s done very well with that.”
The department’s third K-9 officer began duty on May 8 after a month-long training with Ackerman in Humboldt, Iowa.
Sgt. Pete Nielsen, who partners with K-9 officer Macho, helped Ackerman recruit Brewtus from his homeland of Germany after a community drive to raise the funds for an additional West Fargo K-9.
While the three K-9s have little interaction with each other, Brewtus was chosen because he likes to socialize, almost as much as he loves his blue ball, a constant play toy for the young pup.
“Brewtus is very social and with the community paying for the dog, we wanted a social dog so they can say hello and get to know him,” Ackerman said. “I definitely want to thank the community for all they did to bring Brewtus here. It definitely means a lot to me and our department.”
Police Chief Heith Janke said the community, residents and businesses, donated around $44,000 to the department in an effort to staff the third K-9 unit.
After training, Ackerman and Brewtus began their first full day earlier in May, starting on the second shift.
Ackerman, who has a German Shepherd at home but had never worked with a K-9, became interested in working with the dogs over a year ago when a K-9 decoy position opened in the department.
Ackerman said working with the two other K-9 units, Nielson and Macho and Officer Ben Orr and K-9 ToSti, he quickly knew he would like to follow in their first steps.
“I just started to learn the skills and what it takes to be a K-9 officer from Pete and Ben,” Ackerman said.
Ackerman has been a police officer with West Fargo for four years and will be working evenings with Brewtus.
“The evening shift is typically our busiest shift, sometimes the day shift has days when it’s busy but the evening shift is consistent with a steady call load,” Ackerman said.
He and Brewtus have already had several deployments, helping neighboring forces with anything from tracking people, narcotic detection, and suspect apprehension to article searching.
“Article searching is if someone throws something out the window, like drugs or a weapon,” Ackerman said. “But it can even be as easy as a set of keys, and he can find it if he gets the scent.”
Brewtus has done very well letting Ackeman know very clearly there may be drugs in a vehicle.
“I’ve been very impressed with him,” Ackerman said. “With him being so young and so new, we have a lot of stuff to work on and continue to work on it daily. But I’m definitely confident he’s going to work with us and he’ll do what he is meant to."
An earlier version of this story stated Sgt. Pete Nielsen is partnered with Disco the police dog. He is partnered with Macho.