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Meet The Penn State Police K-9 Units

Penn State Police monitor campus with patrol cars, on bikes, by foot, and on four legs.

Wail and Rudie work alongside their handlers, Officer Josh Quimby and Dustin Miller. Wail has been with the force since July when he replaced Wynne, a yellow labrador who retired after eight years. Both dogs are Belgian Malinois, which are known for being both incredibly smart and energetic. They were bred in Holland by a breeder who strictly raises police dogs.

“People think police dog and immediately think aggression but neither dog is aggressive,” Quimby said. He took Wail over to the Creamery last week when there were a bunch of kids there for a field trip and he loved all the attention.

Officer Quimby playing with Wail.

The dogs are specially trained in explosive detection, and each dog had to pass a 12-week course alongside their handler before they could officially join the force. “The way they explained it to us in the training course is if you and I smell a cheeseburger, we just smell a cheeseburger,” Quimby said. “The dogs smell the bun, the tomatoes, the lettuce, and all the different things in it and that just blows my mind.”

Each dog can identify between 20-30 scents including everything from military, commercial, and homemade explosives to guns and shell casings. The dogs usually work on a leash and follow verbal commands from their handlers.

They oftentimes assist other nearby law enforcement agencies in their investigations, and are used during football games and when VIPs visit campus. The Friday before game days the dogs sweep the stadium and then again starting bright and early at 5 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Rudie is three and Wail just turned two and the dogs don’t interact together very often. “They’re both male and trying to establish dominance,” Quimby said. “So we don’t give them the chance to establish dominance,” Miller added, who noted Rudie has a bit of an attitude since he was here first. Or maybe it’s because he was offsides.

Rudie standing alongside Officer Miller.

To the dogs, working is just like playing and going to work or on a search is just like playing a game. “To be able to watch the dog and see it work the way he does with that intelligence level is just amazing,” Quimby and Miller agreed.

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