High energy. Desire to play. Commitment to the task at hand. These all describe a chocolate Labrador Retriever now residing in Redwood County.
While in many ways this three-year-old puppy is like others of his breed, he is unique in what he does.
His name is Rolo, and he is the newest member of the Redwood County Sheriff’s Department.
“I bought him in November 2012 and started working with him right away,” said Mike Campbell, a deputy with the Redwood County Sheriff’s Department. “The county reimbursed me, and he started working at the end of July.”
Rolo is a narcotics detection K-9 officer, which means his main role is to find drugs at scenes where law enforcement believes they may exist.
Rolo is officially certified, said Campbell, who, along with working with K-9 officers is also certified as a K-9 trainer offering his services nationwide.
Rolo replaced the department’s past K-9 officer, Teo, who retired after serving for more than 10 years.
“Teo actually worked for two departments,” said Campbell, who is now the caretaker for the retired animal. “He’s got some health problems. A job like this can take a toll on their bodies. The drive is still there, and he wants to work, but he has had enough. ”
Campbell got Rolo from Mississippi, and he said working with a lab is definitely different than Teo, who was a Malinois.
“He has a lot of energy,” said Campbell. “When I first met him I liked what I saw. I do a lot with kids, and Rolo is very social.”
Campbell said a narcotics dog is not specifically looking for drugs, but as part of their training those scents they are taught to detect are associated with rewards. When they find something they get rewarded for it.
“For him it’s a game,” Campbell said.
Campbell started his interest with training dogs while growing up in the Lake Crystal area. There as part of an FFA project he worked with animal control and was able to observe the local law enforcement as it worked with its dogs.
“I watched and was hooked,” he said, add-ing his dog training ultimately led him to law enforcement.
Campbell’s entire career has included K-9 partners.
Campbell said he is willing to do presentations for local groups, and those who are interested in learning more about the program can contact the sheriff’s department at (507) 637-4036.