Sheriffs Office heroes perform for 25 campers
KEYSTONE Two hairy, fanged members of Summit County Sheriffs Department captured 25 campers attention at Keystone Science School on Thursday.Tommy and Bobby, the tail-wagging patrol canines, demonstrated discipline and prowess as they sniffed out hidden objects, retrieved toys and barked on command. The diverse audience included Captain America, Robin Hood and Fireball Boy day campers aged 5 to 10 dressed for Super Slimy Superheroes week. Staff member Jordan Egbert said the weeks theme also included demonstrations with heroes from Lake Dillon Fire District and Dillon Police Departments mounted patrol. Its pretty cool and we learn, too. Thats the beauty of it, Egbert said. The children sat for the canine demonstration at the camps amphitheater after making superhero capes and playing with glowing slime.Summit County Sheriffs Office Deputies Nathan Opsahl and Brian Smith explained that the dogs came from Europe and respond only to commands in foreign languages. Children chuckled at hearing such forceful Dutch expressions as Zit (sit) and Luid (bark).The German and Dutch shepherds detect drugs, and track and apprehend suspects. Opsahl said the dogs help to neutralize tense situations. Neither has bitten a suspect. Dogs are becoming more and more popular in the law-enforcement community as times are changing, he said.The dogs recently helped apprehend a man suspected of attempted murder in Silverthorne. The suspect did not resist. They always surrender at the last moment, Opsahl said. The canine handlers command the dogs to bark in such situations to make the subject aware of their presence. Smith said that if a suspect flees, or has already fled, the dogs can detect the scent from dropped items. Theyve been trained to track over a variety of terrain.Theyre not bloodhounds, Smith said. They track ground disturbance.This could include snapped twigs or irregularities in grass. On ice, snow and concrete, the dogs will follow the light trails of rubber from shoe soles. The dogs were added to the department in the past two years at about $15,000 each which includes equipment and several weeks of training.Thursdays demonstration also included use of a bite sleeve, which trains the dogs to attack a suspects forearm. Camp outreach director Dave Miller said it was pretty cool.The dog was shaking it all over the place.He said the next weeks camp theme is Party Like a Rock Star, to be followed with Pirates in Paradise.
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