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‘You can’t replace a dog with anything’: MSP says police dogs are invaluable to their work

Posted at 6:47 PM, Jul 27, 2021

WALKER, Mich. — Trooper Joe Bozek said working with almost 4-year-old Yagr makes his job as a Michigan State Police canine handler pretty special.

“I get to play with the dog every day,” said Bozek said during an interview with FOX 17 on Tuesday. “So, you can’t beat that.”

Yagr is a German Shepard mix who loves to run around, run after his ball and play, but not when he’s at work.

“Every search I go on, my dog will run right up to the people and they lean right in,” Trooper Bozek said. “They get to know who the friends are and who the foes are.”

Bozek said that’s something they were trained to do and they’ve got busy jobs.

“So far today in 2021, we’ve run about 4,000 calls,” Bozek said. “That's tracking suspects, looking for evidence, looking for missing kids, explosive sweeps, [and] narcotics searches."

According to MSP, with the dogs, they’ve had over 500 successful narcotics finds, 200 persons located (suspects and missing persons) and over a dozen successful human-remain searches.

“We do shell-casing searches at shootings. We have arson dogs that looks for accelerants. We have cyber dogs that look for electronic devices on child-abusive-material cases,” Bozek added. “Those are our main functions.”

Even though they’re good at their jobs, he said, sometimes work gets dangerous. Monday night a police dog was stabbed during a deputy-involved shooting in Van Buren County.

READ MORE: Suspect identified after being shot and killed after stabbing K-9 in Van Buren County

The dog is currently in stable condition. Nevertheless, Bozek said it shows just how meaningful dogs are to law enforcement everywhere.

“They come home with us every night. They go to work with us every day. I’m with my dog more than I’m with my family, which is unfortunate, but it’s a valuable tool and you can’t replace it,” Bozek said. “You can't replace a dog with anything.”

RELATED: Dog training group donates K9 to Wyoming Police

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