Police gain four-legged investigator

By Rachel McAuley

March 28, 2014

LAURINBURG — He may be fluffy and cute, but the newest four-legged member of the Laurinburg Police Department has jaws powerful enough to crush three tennis balls in one bite.

Jogi, a 19-month-old Belgian Malinois, was met with a mixed reaction of caution and adoration as he trotted into Murphy Brown LLC on Friday morning for a photo with general manager Terry Jones and director of production Tom Hagood.

The city of Laurinburg approved the purchase of Jogi in December. Murphy Brown LLC picked up the tab.

Jogi was brought in as the third official police K-9 in January, three months after his predecessor reached retirement age. All three police K-9s are taken home by their assigned trainers at the end of each shift.

“He’s not aggressive to people,” said Jogi’s trainer, Police Cpl. Timothy Wilkerson. “He plays with my kids.”

Wilkerson said the furry investigator was trained at Triangle Canine in Durham before joining the department, including being taught commands in a foreign language so as to avoid confusion.

“All of his commands are in Czech so people can’t tell him to ‘stop,’” Police Chief Darwin Williams said. “It helps the trainer to keep him under control.”

Jogi has been trained in biting and article searching but Wilkerson said he still has some things to learn before he can pass a certification test, including “suspect apprehension.”

“We’re still finishing up his training and waiting to get certified,” Wilkerson said.