Enfield Police Department adds new K-9 team

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Wed., Feb. 13, 2013
Officer Chris Dufresne and his new partner, Bruin, were honored during the Connecticut State Police 156th Patrol Dog graduation on Jan. 17. Photos by Colin Rajala.
Officer Chris Dufresne and his new partner, Bruin, were honored during the Connecticut State Police 156th Patrol Dog graduation on Jan. 17. Photos by Colin Rajala.

The newest member of the Enfield Police Department doesn’t wear a uniform, carry a gun or hand-cuff any criminals, but he does have a nose for detecting crime. Bruin, a 19-month-old male purebred German shepherd, has started patrolling the streets of Enfield alongside his handler, Officer Chris Dufresne, after completing training from the K-9 Police Academy and participating in the Connecticut State Police 156th Patrol Dog Graduation on Jan. 17 alongside 16 other K-9 teams from throughout the state.

“I am looking forward to making Bruin a vital asset to the town and my fellow officers here with investigations that they are doing,” Dufresne said. “When you’re out, it’s nice to know that you have that extra protection with you; someone is always watching over you.”

Dufresne knew from an early age that he wanted to have a career in law enforcement and remembers his interest in dogs growing after seeing a police dog and his handler in his hometown. He became more acclimated to dogs while serving in the United States Army, noting that he worked closely with the dogs but was never a handler. It was during this time he decided that dog handling was a part of the career that he wanted to pursue when he joined a police force.

Dufresne applied to be the next K-9 handler when the Enfield Police Department had an opening for one of its three K-9 teams, as Niko, the department's first German shepherd, retired in the summer of 2012. Dufresne participated in a series of tests alongside other officers in the department for the position and was ultimately chosen because of his strong performances in the physical agility test and an oral board consisting of a state police officer and high-ranking officers within the EPD.

Bruin was brought over from Holland in late August of 2012, and when Dufresne went alongside former Enfield K-9 handler Matt Moylan to select a dog to join the force, they decided Bruin was the ideal choice. Dufresne, a 10-year veteran, was partnered with Bruin over Labor Day weekend, giving them about a month of bonding and training time before the academy began in October.

The duo participated in a rigorous 15-week program which focused heavily on obedience during the first few weeks of class. Dufresne said that his time with Bruin prior to the academy was highly beneficial in developing obedience. During the 15-week program, Dufresne took classes on how to properly handle the dog, and also participated in field training with Bruin, which included exercises in human tracking, area searches, evidence recovery, building searches and handler protection. The dog is not yet trained in narcotics detection, but Dufresne said Bruin will likely go to narcotics school in a year.

Bruin weighs about 87 pounds currently, but Dufresne said that he does not believe he is fully grown, noting that he has not completely grown into his "ginormous paws." Bruin is known as a “ball reward dog,” meaning that he will do anything for a ball toy, especially one particular red ball Dufresne uses. When Bruin is not on duty, Dufresne says the dog is most likely sleeping, but once he sees Dufresne dress in his typical navy blue gear, he perks right up and is ready to work.

Dufresne and Bruin join EPD K-9 teams Brian Croteau and Promise, and Matt Worden and Falco.

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