Allamakee County Sheriff Deputy Ross Kolsrud and new K9 Deputy Tyr complete training to begin new partnership


New partners complete training ... Allamakee County Sheriff Deputy Ross Kolsrud and his new K9 partner, Tyr, display the certificate they were awarded for completing training together through Blue Line K9 of Minnesota, LLC in May of this year. Tyr is the new K9 officer purchased by the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office with help from funds raised locally in anticipation of the retirement of the Department’s current K9 officer, Erro. Submitted photo.

New K9 officer ... The Allamakee County Sheriff’s Department is welcoming a new K9 officer named Tyr in anticipation of the retirement of the Department’s current K9 officer, Erro. Tyr recently completed K9 training with his handler through the Department, Allamakee County Sheriff Deputy Ross Kolsrud. Submitted photo.

by Lissa Blake

There’s a new officer reporting for duty at the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Office.

K9 Deputy Tyr (as in “tear” drop) and his handler, Deputy Ross Kolsrud, recently graduated from training. Kolsrud, who has been with the Allamakee County Sheriff’s Department for 10 months now, said he and Tyr graduated from the K9 training program at Blue Line K9 of Minnesota, LLC, located in Rushford, MN.

Kolsrud had previously worked in law enforcement as an officer with the Lansing/New Albin Police Department. When he joined the Sheriff’s Department, Allamakee County Sheriff Clark Mellick asked if he would be interested in the K9 program.

“I had always thought that would be interesting and fun to do. I didn’t ever think I would get that position being a new deputy,” said Kolsrud.

Kolsrud said last fall, the department started a fundraising effort to purchase Tyr, a Belgian Malinois, who was 13 months old at that time and was imported from Europe. “The purchase price of the dog itself was $9,000,” said Kolsrud.

The Sheriff’s Department went through Houston County, MN Sheriff’s Department Deputy Tracie Erickson, who is a trainer with Blue Line K9 of Minnesota, to find Tyr. The dog is named after the Norse God of War and Justice.

“He goes through a vendor and actually goes over to Europe and looks at these dogs and picks them out for police work. The one thing they’re looking for is high ball drive. He’s looking for dogs with that drive … where nothing matters but the ball. Because that’s what they get rewarded with … playing with the ball,” Kolsrud said.

Kolsrud explained he had a great deal of faith in Erickson, as he has been a K9 handler for 20 years. “He and his dog, Roman, won the national championship for canine team last fall. They are the number-one handler and canine team in the nation,” he said.

Beginning March 2 of this year, Kolsrud and Tyr traveled to Rushford every day for training for 11 weeks. “Tyr is trained in patrol dog, apprehension, room searches and building searches, obedience, criminal apprehension and bite work. He also will be certified in narcotics,” said the officer.

Everyone on board
Kolsrud said people may not realize that when an officer takes on being a K9 handler, that dog lives with the officer and spends almost every moment with the officer, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “I am married and have two children. Everyone had to be on board with this decision,” he said.

Kolsrud, whose family already had a labrador and a pug, said there was a little bit of skepticism at first about how the dog would fit in with the family and the other pets they have in their home. “He is a wonderful family dog,” said Kolsrud, who lives in Lansing with his wife, Tara, and their two children, Andrew, 13, and Olivia, 12.

Kolsrud said Tyr isn’t treated like a family pet, but is finding his place to belong. “We have two other dogs, and my kids aren’t on the floor rolling around with him. But if he comes up and wants to interact, we kind of let him dictate when he wants to be played with,” he said.

Kolsrud added the other two dogs have done a good job accepting the new addition. “He is a very friendly dog. He plays with our pug. But I think there’s a little bit of jealousy,” he said, adding the other dogs seem to “know” Tyr’s role is different.

“We have a kennel outside and he’s probably kenneled 50 percent of the time. Our other dogs aren’t. They know there is something different about him,” he said.

K9 Training
Kolsrud said he and Tyr will be working with other law enforcement officers in Waukon, Postville, Lansing and New Albin to conduct some additional K9 training to continue working within those communities. “We’re available and we want people to know what you can and can’t do with a dog,” he said.

“Any department within the county can call us out and if I’m available during the week, we’ll come. Whenever I go to work, he’s with me. And he’s with me the majority of the time we are out of work. He doesn’t leave my side very often,” he said.

Amazing
Kolsrud said he has been extremely impressed by what his canine partner has learned since they began their training.

“I tell everyone it is amazing how smart they are and how fast they catch on… his smarts and athleticism… it is amazing what they can do and how obedient they can be. When we’re training I let the dog go on its own and we do a training scenario. He can be taking the lead and doing something, but with one word by my voice, he goes back to doing what he’s told,” he said.

Many thanks
The officer said his department is thankful for the community support it received in order to acquire Tyr.

“Last fall we raised $15,000 with a community golf tournament, which helped with the purchase of the dog, training and equipment. I’d just like to put in a thank you to everyone who contributed and supported this effort. Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to purchase a dog. Another great thing is that Nutri Source (a brand of dog food) and Hall Roberts’ Sons are donating the dog food to us for the life of Tyr. I want to give a big thank- you to them for that. That is a big expense and we can use our money to focus on other things,” said Kolsrud.

What’s next?
Kolsrud said under normal circumstances, a police dog will actively work for between seven and nine years.

“Once Tyr has all of his certifications, the department will look into retiring Erro,” he said. Erro is the current Allamakee County K9 Officer and Deputy Stuart Bloxham’s K9 partner that has been with the Sheriff’s Department for the past six years.
 

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