COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - Graduation ceremonies were held Friday by the Michigan State Police for the MSP 2013 Basic Canine School and it included Trooper Jereme Miller and canine Dakota who will be assisgned to the Coldwater Post. In all, a dozen canine teams, including eight new and four replacement teams graduated yesterday. This year’s class brings the total number of MSP canine teams to 49, which is an historic high for the department.
The MSP Canine Unit responds to approximately 5,600 calls annually making it one of the largest and busiest in the country. The Basic Canine School is a 14-week intense training program conducted in-house by veteran MSP Canine Unit members. The handlers and their canines covered more than 100 miles on foot during the training, which covered subjects including tracking, narcotics detection, building search, area search, property search, obedience and aggression. Additionally, the handlers received more than 100 hours of classroom instruction.
All of the unit's canines are German shepherds due to the breed's ability to handle the various functions and stress with intelligent problem-solving abilities and a high work drive. The MSP's canines retire to their handler or another loving person's home after working eight years. The MSP Canine Unit was established in 1960.