In the days of Napoleon and even Attila the Hun, dogs served a vital role. From messengers to sentries, scouts to guards, dogs have fought alongside man for thousands of years. So it really should be no surprise that most police departments today have K9 units.

In 2007, the Auburn Police Department created its first K9 unit with two German shepherds; Inka and Beny, both 4 years old. Inka is dual trained for patrol and drug seizure, says handler Officer Scott Corey. And she’s Schutzund trained — a more focused training for tracking, obedience and protection. Shortly after Inka was brought into service, Beny became part of the APD K9 Unit working with handler Cpl. Kristopher Bouchard. Originally from Slovakia, Beny is also dual trained.

Sure they are all business when they are on duty, sitting in the back
of a police cruiser, barking fiercely at anyone who gets too close. They
have to be. They sniff out drugs and suspects — it’s what trained K9 dogs do; they’ve get a rep to live up to. But is there more to these dogs? Absolutely. With interpretation assistance from Corey and Bouchard, we get behind the menacing growls and shiny coats.

Where do you wear your badge? Inka: We don’t wear them on duty. Stealth mode; makes it easier to catch the suspects.

Kevlar — a necessity, but can it be fashionable? Inka: Typically, no, but I did work the runway for a JC Penney charity show recently. Very sweet, and black goes with everything.

The most irritating words your partner uses?

Inka: Well, Officer Corey seems to like the words “leave it” a lot. I mean, there are moments when I just want to let loose and have a little fun; he’s a bit bossy.

Beny: Quiet. I hear that a lot, “Beny, be quiet” or “quiet down.” But sometimes I just need to vent, you know?

What’s with the rolling around in the grass and dirt? Inka: I like to smell like my environment; messes with other dogs’ heads.

Ice cream or doughnuts?

Inka: Jute chew toys are pretty good, though once in a while Officer Corey gives me a piece of cheese. Good stuff!

Beny: Cpl. Bouchard gives me rawhide and pig ears, but occasionally I’ll finish the pizza crusts for the kids when he’s not looking.

Best find on a job:

Beny: A few weeks back we tracked a guy into Lewiston. Got there at the same time as the other unit chasing him did, but I tracked him over pavement, which isn’t easy, let me tell you.

Inka: Probably a toss-up between the time I sniffed out 10 grams of crack cocaine at a traffic stop and the time I tracked a suspect right to his bed in the E.R. Pretty proud of that one.

Do criminals taste different then law-abiding citizens? Beny: I don’t know, Inka, what do you think?

Inka: Criminals? Nah, just kidding, neither of us have bitten anyone … yet.

Beny, hydrant or tree? Oh, no contest. Tree every time, definitely.

Favorite food?

Beny: Aside from table scraps, I’d say smoked pig ears. I love those!

Inka: Solid Gold pet food all the way. Greenies dog treats are pretty good, too.

What do you do if you can’t reach an itch? Beny: Just roll around in the dirt or grass.

Ever want to call in sick?

Inka: Sometimes we would rather just chill out at home and just be lazy, especially on hot, sunny days.

Beny: Yeah, but that’s not too often, the chase is too fun. When the siren is blaring, the adrenaline rush is crazy.

What’s Deputy Chief Moen really like? He’s like grandpa really — plays with us, spoils us and then we go home.

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