Winmag, good question, it is a confidence test. In real conditions, these dogs get hit, kicked and everything that happens to cops happens to them also. You train them to ignore weapons like guns, clubs and pain. Malinois are truly the Michael Jordans of the K9 world. They can almost fly! Able to jump over eight feet vertically and over twenty six foot leap! Maligators are the best kept secret in the K9 world I think.
The "decoy" can make or break a dog in its formative years. A good decoy is worth his weight in gun powder. LoL (just like a good gun smith) Decoy's are the unsung heroes who are much like a bullfighter in reality. It's common to get bit in an un-protected area like the face or hand also, blown out knees and whiplash are common injuries.
I get bit much worse during training than 99% of the "victims" do who make dog bite complaints. Makes me want to tell them to man up a little bit. On any given day I have a new bruise or laceration. Just ask the next K9 handler you see how often he gets bit during training. Chances are it happens a lot and especially if he trains with Maligators. LoL I love them though. Taking Zeus for a walk in town is like carrying a Barret 50 around with you. Lot's of looks and no one messes with you.
Chas1 I have FMJ too and I also have to get my fix of the boot camp scenes! I'm even so sick that I have memorized a lot of the lines. It is truly an American Classic only rivaled by "Gone With The Wind", "The Wizard of Oz" and "Animal House"
Zeus and I completed dope school and passed certification with relative ease. So I packed up and headed back to Roberts County with my new toy and I couldn’t wait to take him out and play. I remember as a kid, my older sister frequently told me that I should go play on the interstate. Now I had a toy and couldn’t wait to do just that.
We started working the road and it wasn’t long before we were out finding dope. We weren’t finding the big loads yet as I wasn’t able to work the interstate as much as I wanted to. There was still a lot of work to be done just answering calls. I had made friends with a couple of the FBI Agent from the Sioux Falls office and we regularly worked cases together. Traverse County, MN invited me to participate in a couple of drug raids on the Minnesota side and I worked a burglary case with the Big Stone County, MN Sheriffs office. I was putting a lot of miles on my Durango and Rick didn’t mind me going into Minnesota to assist them.
I was getting my oil changed and tires rotated at a local garage when I heard dispatch send a state trooper to a farm outside of Wilmot to investigate a possible stolen semi-trailer. After a while, I heard the trooper calling his Sergeant to the location and also asking for the sheriff. So it wasn’t very long before Rick was calling me to meet with him at the Wilson farm, southwest of Wilmot. My Durango was just coming down off the hoist, so I grabbed a can of pop and headed up to the farm to see what all the excitement was about. Steve Wilson was a local farmer whom I’d spoken to in passing several times. He was a big guy and a heavy drinker. He had recently been divorced and there had been a fire at his place involving all of his wife’s personal items. He had claimed that it was accidentally set while burning leaves.
As I pulled in, I found Rick talking to the two troopers. Rick pointed me towards a large metal building and said, “Go look in there.” As I walked around the corner and looked inside, I saw that it was full of what appeared to be large rolls of string. Still a little baffled I said, “What the hell is all this?” Rick explained that it was baling twine. He said that dispatch had received a call from a leasing company who had reported one of their semi-trailers missing. It was equipped with a GPS tracking system which had given them coordinates to this farm. They reported that it was stolen from a warehouse in Egan, MN and it had been sitting idle at this farm for two days. The trooper arrived and found it there so he made contact with the Mr. Wilson who denied knowing who left it there and said that it just showed up there. The trooper asked him what was in the truck and Mr. Wilson said, baling twine. The trooper asked where the twine was and Wilson showed him the building which had pallets of twine shrink wrapped and stacked inside. Rick went on to tell me that Wilson said the twine belonged to a local café owner named Mike Thompson. Thompson was also one of our local sex offenders. Rick said that not long after he arrived at the scene, Mike Thompson came pulling into the yard and tried to leave again after seeing the patrol cars parked in the yard. Rick waved him down and asked him if the twine belonged to him. Mr. Thompson told him no and when Rick started to ask another question, Mr. Thompson advised Rick to talk to his lawyer. Rick said the Thompson left after that. We decided that since the twine didn’t belong to Thompson or Wilson and It had arrived in a stolen semi-trailer left there by a “mystery person” the twine was most likely also stolen and needed to be collected as eveidence. I called another farmer to bring a flat bed semi to the Wilson farm and haul the twine to the Roberts County Maintenance Shop in Sisseton which is the only place big enough to store all this stuff. Mr. Wilson, who claimed to be innocent in the whole matter agreed to use his fork lift to load the pallets of twine onto the semi and Rick took off, leaving me in charge of getting it done. I didn’t know anything about twine so I had to get a crash course from one of our reserve officers who owned a farm. As it turned out, this was all “sisal twine” which is made from plants and is a natural material which is safe for live stalk to eat. It had recently jumped in price from thirteen dollars per bale, to over thirty dollars per bale. (a bale is two rolls) With this knowledge I was able to come up with an approximate value of forty thousand dollars for the twine alone. There was also a pallet jack in the trailer and the value of the trailer itself to consider. Since a state trooper was first on the scene, the investigation was turned over to the South Dakota DCI and Agent Mark Stevens was given the case. I knew Stevens since he was one of the firearm instructors for the DCI and had also investigated my shooting. He was a bit on the lazy side and we often gave each other a hard time but we got along pretty good.
After some asking around I found out that Mike Thompson had been selling the twine for twenty dollars per bale out of the café and the Wilson farm was the where everyone came to pick it up. Wilson and Thompson had been telling everyone that it was over stock and they had picked it up cheap. They stopped talking to us though and wouldn’t say where the twine even came from.
I was on the phone with Agent Stevens while I was driving north on I-29 when he told me that he wasn’t interested in finding out who the actual owner of the twine was. I asked why and he told me that it would be impossible to find out who even owned it. I told him that it wouldn’t be that hard and we got into an argument. The argument became heated and I pulled over onto the shoulder. We were at the point that we were actually yelling at one another and Agent Stevens said, “Fine, you want the case, you can have it back!” I told him that it was never mine. It was a state case from the start but if he was going to do a “half assed job”, I’d take it. He said that would be fine and hung up on me. A couple of days later I received a packet at the Sheriff’s Office addressed to me. It was from the DCI and it officially turned the case over to the Roberts County Sheriff’s Office. I was relieved to know that I could start working on it but I felt a bit of pressure now since it was on my shoulders and I knew that I was in a lose-lose situation. If I failed I would certainly hear about it but if I succeeded, there would not be any accolades, ticker tape parades or even a free cup of gas station coffee to celebrate a successful investigation and prosecution. I didn’t need the extra work, that’s for sure but I just couldn’t stand by and watch it slip through the cracks either. The state guys had a lot more resources available to them and I would have to really put on my “A” game in order to handle calls, normal business and this investigation.
I went to the warehouse and photographed any labels I could find on the twine. After down loading the photos, I went home and got on the internet. I started looking for companies who made this kind of twine. I sent out some emails to various companies with pictures attached and asked for their help. While I waited and hoped for a reply that would point me in the right direction, I telephoned the leasing company who owned the semi-trailer. I asked them to download and send me all GPS coordinates from the semi-trailer from the time it activated to the time it went dormant again at the Wilson farm. The person whom I spoke with explained that the system sends as signal when the trailer is hooked up to a truck and then again every so many minutes, it blips a location, speed and direction of travel to the home computer that tracks and stores the data. This trailer had been parked in a lot in Egan, MN when it went missing. He said he would email me the data from the entire trip.
I received an email back from a company in South America. They were the manufacturers of Sisal twine and the person said that he knows of a warehouse that has been missing hundreds of thousands of dollars of twine. He went on to say that there had been a drought and the plant used to make the twine was hit quite hard. Additionally, rising diesel prices for shipping it from South America to the New Orleans, where it is loaded onto barges and shipped up the Mississippi River had caused it the price of the twine to more than double. He said the warehouse was called Dart Warehousing and it was located in Egan, MN. I emailed him back, thanking him and asked for a point of contact.
I started checking around and found out that Mr. Wilson came from Minnesota and still had a brother who lived in the Minneapolis area. My source told me that he worked at a warehouse somewhere and his name was Tom Wilson.
After receiving the GPS data, I plugged it into my laptop and downloaded it to my Garmin GPS. Rick gave me the thumbs-up to follow the trial into Minnesota and find out what ever I could. The following day, Zeus and I packed up a lunch and a thermos of good strong black coffee and we headed east into the land of ten thousand lakes. We followed the trail all the back into Egan, MN and into the parking lot of the Dart Warehousing Company. I photographed the area and headed back since it was getting late.
When I got home, I checked my email and I had received a reply with a point of contact for Dart Warehousing. I called the number and left a message for the executive vise president. Things were coming together fast now and I was getting pretty excited.