NewsLocal NewsKzoo/BCKalamazoo


2 new K-9 officers join Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety

kdps k9 1.jpg
Posted at 11:32 AM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 11:32:38-05

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Two new K-9 officers and their four-legged paw-tners are joining the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, a news release said Friday.

They’ll begin training Monday.

K-9 officer Max Houtman is paired with Sledge, a 1-year-old Dutch Shepherd, and K-9 officer Emily Weston is paired with Groot, a 1-year-old German Shepherd.

kdps k9 2.jpg
kdps k9 1.jpg

“The K-9 officers within KDPS play a critical role in keeping the Kalamazoo community safe,” said Sgt. Kelly Pittelkow, who leads the Kalamazoo Police K-9 Unit. “Sledge and Groot will assist KDPS in searching for narcotics, finding criminal offenders, missing and endangered persons and engaging with our community at schools and events.”

Houtman and Weston joined the K-9 team in mid-February and their new partners were picked up recently from Shallow Creek Kennels, a police service dog facility in Pennsylvania.

Sledge and Groot will receive extensive training to search for drugs, lost and discarded items, people and more.

“KDPS has the largest police K-9 unit in Kalamazoo County and I’m confident Groot and Sledge will help us keep the City of Kalamazoo safe,” KDPS Chief Vernon Coakley said.