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Kaiser, Marlborough Police K-9, the Latest Officer on Patrol

For the first time in 40 years, the Marlborough Police Department has its own dog.

Kaiser, the Marlborough Police K-9, is about 2 years old. Credit: Mary MacDonald
Kaiser, the Marlborough Police K-9, is about 2 years old. Credit: Mary MacDonald
Less than a week after graduating from a police training academy, Marlborough's new police dog, Kaiser, had his first assignment: helping to find a despondent man who had walked off into the woods.

The man knew police were searching for him, but he walked out to meet them when he saw the dog searching, said Kaiser's handler, Marlborough Officer Kenneth McKenzie.

Marlborough Police expect that behavior to become a pattern. People are more likely to come out of hiding, or give themselves up without a struggle, if they see a police dog in the mix, said Police Chief Mark Leonard. A police dog is often called, "a force multiplier," he said. "It can have a dramatic effect."

The dog, who is about 2-years-old, is a German Shepherd who lives with McKenzie and his family, although the dog has his own space. He isn't a pet, he's a working dog. And when he comes to work with McKenzie, he's focused.

On Monday, McKenzie briefly introduced Kaiser to the City Council. Both officer and K9 completed their basic training earlier this month and are assigned to patrol on the 4 p.m. to midnight shift.

Trained in basic search techniques, Kaiser is expected over time to have more training that will allow him to sniff out drugs, said Leonard. He will not become a bomb or explosives dog, which is a different specialty.

Marlborough Police in June secured a $25,000 grant from the Stanton Foundation, of New York and Cambridge. The grant covered the cost of the dog, and revisions to an SUV, as well as most of his training, dog food for three years and some equipment. Another $15,000 line item in the department budget will cover additional work hours for McKenzie, as well as training and equipment.

McKenzie was one of several officers in the department who applied to be the K-9 Unit officer, Leonard said, and he was selected based on his work history, his self-motivation for additional training, having an appropriate home for the dog, and an interview. The hours bump-up was needed because the dog will be available on-call, Leonard said, as needed.

Police departments that do not have their own dogs for tracking people, or finding objects, such as weapons, can borrow one from neighboring towns and the State Police. But those dogs may be in use when needed locally, and in the past, Marlborough would have to request, then wait for the arrival of a police dog, Leonard said.

"A K-9 can certainly assist in a lot of ways," he said. "We frequently call in K-9s during searches. Sometimes their response can be delayed. Having one here, when time of the essence, can be a helpful thing."

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