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Hobart-Lawrence Police Department welcomes new K-9

Posted at 11:53 PM, Feb 22, 2023

HOBART (NBC 26) — He's not your ordinary house dog, and you won't find this dog lounging around on your living room couch.

This is Jax, and he's the Hobart-Lawrence Police Department's newest teammate.

"Jax is going to be trained as a dual-purpose dog," Hobart-Lawrence Police Officer Chris Tremel said. "He's going to be in narcotic detection, and then the patrol aspect. Patrol aspect is a long list of things, but specifically tracking, area searches, building searches...human location."

Tremel said Jax is the department's second K-9, and he'll be taking over for their current K-9, Bax, who will be retiring this spring.

The department first got the K-9 unit in 2016 when a resident donated the $100,000 startup cost after watching a TV show.

"He saw a K-9 on there and was just intrigued by it, so he just decided to call the PD, speak to the chief and ask him if we had a K-9 unit," Tremel said.

In fact, he said the K-9 unit is run entirely off community donations. The donations go toward equipment, training, medical expenses and essentially everything the dogs could need.

Tremel said the K-9 unit assists in welfare checks, searches and even traffic stops.

"Just the sound, just the presence of a K-9 can change the demeanor of an individual instantly," he said.

He said the dogs also have unbeatable skills.

"If you smell a pizza cooking, you might be able to tell that it's pepperoni or sausage," Tremel said. "Bax can smell every ingredient in that pizza down to a grain of salt."

The dogs are originally from Germany, and then the department gets them from a vendor in Albuquerque, New Mexico, who selects dogs for departments based on a wishlist of traits.

"To put it into layman's terms, we need a dog that wants to work," Tremel said.

He said the dogs arrive trained in their native language and named.

Currently, Tremel is in the process of transitioning Jax into Bax's role and said Bax's retirement is bittersweet.

"He is way more than a dog. He's my partner," Tremel said. "He earned his retirement. To be able to just go out in the yard and just play fetch."