The Michigan State Police now has more canine teams than at any other time in its history. Twelve dogs and their human handlers have just graduated from the 2013 Basic Canine School.
The school is an intense 14-week training program. The dogs and their handlers cover more than 100 miles on foot learning about tracking, drug detection, obedience, aggression and how to conduct various types of searches. The handlers also receive more than 100 hours of classroom instruction.
The new graduates bring the total number of Michigan State Police canine teams to 49. The State Police says the Canine Unit responds to about 5,600 calls each year, making it one of the largest and busiest canine units in the country.
One of the new canine teams will be stationed in the Upper Peninsula. Trooper Ben Bordner and his dog, Smoke, have been assigned to the 8th District Headquarters in Marquette.
All of the Michigan State Police Canine Unit’s dogs are German shepherds. The most recent Basic Canine School graduation was in August of 2012, when five new teams graduated.