April 14, 2021
When plans moved forward to revamp the Canine Unit's kennel building, Sgt. Dave Yount was looking forward to gaining much-needed space for training. The unit had been headquartered in an 1,100 square foot structure, built by high school students learning construction skills, in the late 1980s, in Dimondale near the MSP Training Academy.
"We made it work the best we could," said Yount, the unit's head trainer and handler assigned to the Special Operations Division. "The way we train has evolved and we needed more room and updated areas to accommodate the handlers and better prepare our canine partners."
Renovating a building near Lansing's Capital Region International Airport turned out to be the best option. Kennel staff moved to the new facility in November.
"The space we have now is much more usable, efficient and practical all around," said Lt. Ryan Maki, Canine Unit commander. "We have dog runs designed specifically to be healthier for our partners, large indoor and outdoor sections to train and a separate classroom for instruction. We've never had those elements in one building."
The latest Canine School began Monday, April 12, with five teams. It will be the first class to use the new 10,000 square foot facility.
The indoor training areas feature a training room for narcotics detection and obedience. Another is set up to mimic living space with furniture, household items and property that teams would search when they are on-the-job.
The kennels themselves are set at a lower height to prevent unnecessary jumping and stress on the dogs. A wash station was added to make cleaning up easier.
Including the five new teams, there are 45 canine teams strategically placed throughout the state who answer calls for service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Canine Unit answers more than 7,000 calls for service each year making it one of the largest and busiest in the country.
For more information on the MSP Canine Unit, visit https://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123-72297_25680-79670--,00.html.