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Two new canines join St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office

Meet the new St. Louis County K-9 dog Louie. (Submitted photo)1 / 2
Diesel is a German shepherd born in the Czech Republic, now being trained to work for the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office. (Submitted photo)2 / 2

They can cover more ground and sniff out narcotics and other evidence faster than their two-legged counterparts, and in return they want only to have a tennis ball thrown for them. And thrown again.

Louie and Diesel are the two newest members of the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office. The German shepherds work with their respective partners deputies Ben Fye and Tim Officer.

Originally from the Czech Republic, Louie and Diesel arrived in Minnesota earlier this year. The 1 1/2-year-old dogs began an extensive training program with their human partners in April, which they are expected to complete in late June, earning them certification to begin working on patrol by July. Both are being trained as dual-purpose K-9s, meaning they will specialize in detecting narcotics and tracking humans — both missing persons and criminal suspects.

“In the short time they’ve been here, Louie and Diesel have already demonstrated particular skill and talent,” said Sheriff Ross Litman. “They’ve got great temperaments and are eager to work, which to them is play. They’re very social and friendly, yet can switch to serious work mode when given the command.”

When they hit the streets, Louie and Diesel will be following in some pretty impressive footsteps. They will replace two other K-9s, Rico and Atrej, who are set to retire. The St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office also has two other dual-purpose K-9s, Roscoe and Kilo.

Specially bred for law enforcement work, these K-9s are a significant investment. Each comes with a price tag of $11,200, which covers the purchase and initial training costs.

The public will have an opportunity to meet Louie and Diesel, along with numerous other area law enforcement dogs, at “Operation K-9” on June 5, 4:30-8 p.m. at the Amsoil Center in Superior. The event is the kick-off for the Amsoil Northland Law Enforcement K-9 Foundation, which support the costs associated with K-9 programs for the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office, the Duluth Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office and Superior Police Department. The event is free and open to the public. Donations to the foundation are encouraged to help defray future K-9 costs.