Cavalier County Chief Deputy Paul Podhradsky and his K-9 partner, Milo, recently competed in a drug detection competition where they scored 198.33 out of 200, taking second place.
By Melissa Anderson
The two competed against 37 other dog/handler teams from Region 12 which includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Manitoba. The training competition was held on March 5 in West Fargo.
“It was a pretty close competition,” Podhradsky said.
Milo was purchased through donations from Cavalier County businesses in 2012.
“Michelle Schefter from Langdon Hardware continues to donate to the canine program monthly through her contribution of dog food for Milo,” Podhradsky shared.
Milo was originally a rescue dog that was taken in by the Animal Rescue League of Iowa who works with the training facility Midwest K-9 Protection and Detection in Des Moines, Iowa to help place suitable dogs in their programs.
“Milo has gone through basic narcotics identification through MidWest K-9 Protection and Detection and is trained and certified in seven different types of narcotics,” Podhradsky said.
The two have been partners since 2012 when Podhradsky went to Midwest K-9 and received training with Milo for seven days.
Podhradsky became a licensed peace officer in 2005 working in Minnesota from 2005 to 2010 before moving back home to Cavalier County. He has been a K-9 handler since 2012 with Milo.
Having a K-9 unit in Cavalier County is a benefit to the communities as it deters drug use and trafficking.
“Milo helps the community out by assisting local deputies in keeping drugs out of our community to help keep our area safe and drug free,” according to Podhradsky.
Podhradsky and Milo attended the competition as part of their yearly certification for drug detecting police K-9s put on by the United States Police Canine Association, and awards are given out to the top dogs by a score that is given by several judges who are grading and evaluating the dog and its handler.
“Milo was tested and certified in his response, alert, find, and work ethic,” Podhradsky explained,” I was tested and graded on attitude, leash control, confidence in dog, search sequence, and properly controlling K-9 during work.”
There were two phases to the testing that Podhradsky and Milo underwent with a maximum total point score of 200 being possible. The certification or necessary points needed for passing is 140 points.
The vehicle search phase used five vehicles that could include autos, trucks, buses, airplanes, boats, etc. The substance can be placed on the outside of the vehicle or placed inside where scent is available to the canine from the outside.
“The vehicle search phase had five vehicles with two containing hides,” Podhradsky said.
During the indoor or interior search phase Milo and Podhradsky had to search three rooms. The rooms were furnished to resemble a real world search scenario such as a kitchen, workshop, office, or schoolroom.
“Milo found the first find in the first room right away, then the second room had me second guessing, and the third room took a little longer cause Milo had a lot of interest in one area of the room before alerting,” Podhradsky said.
Overall, Podhradsky was very pleased with Milo’s performance at the drug detection competition.
“Milo is a self-motivated dog and works hard to please me, his handler. He is a very loving and compassionate dog and will do anything to help out the Cavalier County Sheriff’s Department when called upon,” Podhradsky shared.
Over the course of their partnership, Milo and Podhradsky have been called up to help other police forces in Pembina County, the Devils Lake area, Towner County, and also Nelson County with school searches and multiple criminal cases.