Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Meet Roman, new county K-9 officer


Lois E. Johnson

Roman, the new K-9 officer for the Carlton County Sheriff's Office.

The new Carlton County Sheriff's Office K-9 officer, Roman, and his handler, Deputy Tory Cawcutt, showed their skills to the TRIAD group on Wednesday, October 7 at the Carlton County Transportation Building.

Cawcutt said he presented a proposal to the sheriff's office last year and outlined his plans for the K-9 program.

His proposal was accepted and fundraising began.

Northwoods Credit Union in Cloquet donated a large amount of the funding to purchase a dog, and a trainer from Buffalo went to Slovakia and personally chose Roman as the dog that would best meet the needs of the Carlton County Sheriff's Office, Cawcutt added.

"A dog with zero training is purchased from a breeder in Slovakia for $8,200," Cawcutt explained. "It costs another $5,000 for training. Equipment also has to be purchased. It's spendy to get the project up and going.

"I have a Dodge Ram with a kennel insert and a door popper so I can open the door from a remote location so he can come to my aid," he added. "Funds for a bulletproof vest were raised and we just got it. It's heavy so he will only be wearing it for high-risk situations."

Sheriff Kelly Lake said a badge has been ordered for Roman.

Cawcutt said he brought Roman home with him on January 23. He and his family and Roman began getting to know each other and then training began.

"We were in the Cities for a month for narcotics training," said Cawcutt. "Then we took part in a 10-week patrol course in May and June. That's where the handlers learn how to run a dog and read a dog. I'm still learning."

During the patrol training, the handlers took their dogs to the airport, fire halls and churches to train them in tracking and building searches.

"We went through a mock trial," said Cawcutt. "Roman did pretty good."

Roman has been trained and certified in narcotics detection and certified in patrolling, where he can find evidence, even in the woods.

Roman responds to both voice and hand commands, Cawcutt explained. At times Cawcutt will not be able to give voice commands when he does not want to give his position away, he said. That's when he uses hand commands.

Cawcutt said he's taken Roman on calls to Pine County, St. Louis County and with the State Patrol.

"I do enjoy using him to find drugs," he said. "It is enough to justify having a dog."

During the early part of Cawcutt's demonstration to the TRIAD members, Roman was distracted by a package of marijuana that Cawcutt had taped under the top of a desk before he brought Roman into the room. Roman sat and looked at the spot until Cawcutt could come and retrieve the package.

Cawcutt then threw a toy for Roman. That was Roman's reward for finding the narcotics.

He said Roman had been trained to find different types of illegal narcotics. Roman has assisted with finding high priority drugs, and one person has been sent to prison. Another case is in the process.

Roman has not been trained to be aggressive and he loves other dogs, said Cawcutt.

"With the energy he has, he is still very much a puppy," he added. "He will be 2 years old next month.

"It's great to have a partner in the back seat. With a large area to patrol, I might have a partner but he may be miles away."

As to life with Roman at home, Cawcutt said being a handler for a K-9 partner is a commitment.

"At home, we are usually doing something on a daily basis," said Cawcutt. "I'm often out in the yard with him and working with him. But it hasn't been an issue."

Other business

Moose Lake Police Chief Bryce Bogenholm reported three children were removed from a home near Moose Lake recently because the parents were on drugs.

Both Sheriff Lake and Cloquet Police Chief Steve Stracek spoke about the high turnout of people at the community forum about heroin and opiate abuse earlier in the week. Sheriff Lake also spoke about the training exercise of a mock plane crash held near Moose Lake on October 3.

"It was a great training opportunity," she said. "The St. Louis County Rescue Squad was there, too. We worked together."

Chief Stracek reported there have been a high number of car prowls in Cloquet.

"That indicates drug use," he said. "They are trying to find items to sell to earn money to buy drugs. Those are difficult crimes to solve."

The next meeting of the Carlton County TRIAD will be held at the Fond du Lac Tribal Center at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 4.


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