MINOT, N.D. -- Tech. Sgt. Steven Kaun, 5th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog Handler, is brought to the ground by a Military Working Dog, during a training demonstration at Oak Park, Sept. 22. The Minot Air Force Base and local law enforcement K-9 units have been steadily working together to provide each other with guidance and instruction in support of communities around the area. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jesse Lopez)
MINOT, N.D -- Military Working Dog Handler Staff Sgt. Christopher Bennett, Military Working Dog Arno, MWD Handler Staff Sgt. David Wyrick, MWD Kitty, MWD Handler Tech Sgt. Steven Kaun, MWD Legend, and Local Police Officer David Chapman, K-9: Saiber, and Local State Trooper Mike Schott, K-9: Jett, all pose during a training event held at Oak Park, Sept. 22. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Jesse Lopez)
by Kiley Swopes
Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs
10/4/2012 - MINOT, N.D. -- The 5th Security Forces Squadron's Military Working Dog Unit has been steadily working alongside local law enforcement K-9 units to provide maximum support to communities.
Combining resources between the two agencies will sharpen the skills of the dogs and double the assets needed in emergency situations.
Minot Air Force Base is currently authorized 10 MWDs which are highly trained for a multitude of situations.
"A MWD is more than a piece of government equipment," said Tech. Sgt. Steven Kaun, 5th Security Forces Squadron military working dog trainer. "They are more reliable than any machine made to date."
The MWD's are trained to alert their handler to the presence of narcotics and explosives, Kaun said. They can detect criminals and are trained to attack, if necessary, for the trainer's safety.
"The MWD's are a force multiplier and they greatly assist in accomplishing the mission here by helping to secure America's strategic resources," Kaun added. "Because of our specialized mission, MWDs ensure we keep unauthorized individuals at a safe distance and are a deterrent at the gate."
With Minot's increase in population and people moving in and out, local law enforcement utilizes the K-9 unit for criminal deterrence and drug interdiction.
"Due to our increase in activity--a lot of extra traffic and a lot of extra calls for service are made due to all the people moving in," Officer Mike Schott, North Dakota State Trooper said. "Canines are very limited, but very important for the community to have and to keep crime at bay."
The MWDs play a vital role to all local law enforcement throughout North Dakota. They support central and western North Dakota as well as Western Montana through K-9 explosive detecting, Kaun said. Also, joint narcotic training is held in central North Dakota.
Local law enforcement utilizes the MWDs in situations including bomb threats, missing persons, drug task forces in school sweeps, and airport baggage searches.
"We've opened each other up to training opportunities and work opportunities," Officer David Chapman, Minot Police Department patrol and K-9 sergeant said. "There are times when he [Kaun] will call me up and say there is something going on at the base and need another narcotics dog. I'll go help him and he is more than willing to come help us."
Police dogs are a limited and expensive resource. Minot AFB's relationship with the local law enforcement through daily operations and monthly trainings is crucial for enhancing development of the K-9 mission.