Michigan State University police introduce latest K-9 unit

Michigan State University police introduce latest K-9 unit
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 3:17 PM EDT|Updated: May. 19, 2022 at 6:53 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Casanova, a 19-month-old Labrador Retriever, has joined the Michigan State University Police and Public Safety.

According to the school, Cas completed training on MSU campus on May 13. MSU police Sgt. Adam Atkinsons -- a Master Trainer through the National Association of Professional Canine Handlers -- led Cas’ training.

“The resources on campus make for a great location for training a new team. We were able to work collaboratively with our MSU partnerships to access different types of buildings, vehicles and open areas,” Atkinson said. “The heavy volume of foot traffic on campus combined with the assistance of volunteer decoys made person borne explosive training successful.”

Officer Tony Alkema, who said he’s always had an interest in dogs, was selected to be K-9 Cas’ handler.

“Being a handler means I have a new partner on patrol and at home. It means carrying poop bags and tennis balls wherever I go, always thinking ahead on how I can benefit my new partners’ training and the communities’ safety and wellbeing,” Alkema said. “There is constant training involved with being a K-9 handler to keep our skills sharp. I watch his back and make sure he is always healthy and fit to protect the community.”

Cas was ultimately trained for Static Explosive Detection and Person Borne Explosive Detection.

While the majority of K-9 units are German Shepherds, MSU called the trusty lab into service.

“Labrador Retrievers are better with the nose work aspect,” Alkema explained. “German Shepherds are good with the aggression and finding suspect tracking, when it comes to explosives, we find Labradors are better with their noses.”

More information on Casanova and the Michigan State University Police and Public Safety can be found on its official website here.


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