Paco, a Czechoslovakian line German Shepherd recently , just completed his first week on the job.
His handler is Madison Police Sgt. Bryan Baxter, an officer on the 4 p.m. to midnight shift. During Paco's first week, he was called out on two burglaries, did some training, and got used to his new home away from home, the .
Paco, about 1 1/2 years old, is about six months away from full maturity, but did well on his initial round of training with the North American Police Work Dog Association, Madison Police Chief Jack Drumm said during a recent Police Commissioner's meeting.
"He graduated about a week and a half ago, near the top of his class," Drumm said. Baxter said Paco did particularly well in several areas, including tracking, evidence recovery, and bite and hold.
"His bite work is good," Baxter said. "He doesn't chomp, he doesn't thrash. He bites and holds."
Paco is a handsome black and sable, but he wasn't bred for his looks. Czech line German Shepherds are bred to be sturdy and to have a specific kind of obedient temperament. The best of the breed track well, have solid nerves, and are usually not social outside of their family unit.
Paco, during a recent exercise break, was all about Sgt. Baxter until Baxter released the ball. And then Paco was all about the task at hand, retrieving the ball in this case.
The Madison Police Department also has a drug-sniffing dog, Gwen. Paco's responsibilities are different and might include helping to track suspects following a bank robbery or burglary, helping to track someone who is lost, recovering evidence, or keeping a suspect at bay.
Baxter said he's glad to have him on the job.
"It means an officer is less likely to have to go hands on or to have to use a Taser. Just having him around can be a deterrent," Baxter said.