Windsor Locks PD adds new K-9 team
By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Windsor Locks - posted Thu., Feb. 21, 2013
The newest member of the Windsor Locks Police Department can be seen riding around town, but he won’t be driving the cruiser - he will be sitting in the back seat. Jaxx, a 23-month-old male pure bred German shepherd, has started patrolling the streets of Windsor Locks alongside his handler, Officer Joe Malone, 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’m looking to bring Jaxx to his absolute full potential, as well as myself, and see how far we can go because we’re a team - it’s not him, it’s not me,” Malone said. “We’re a unit, so we grow together, and I want to see how far we can grow to reach our full capability.”
Malone has been a dog lover from an early age and always wanted to pursue a career as a police officer. He knew he wanted to combine his two interests, and when he was hired in 2008, he was one step closer to his aspirations. His first real involvement as a handler came on ride-alongs with former a Windsor Locks K-9 handler, Officer Andrew Dzierzgowski.
“I knew right then this is for me,” Malone said. “You’re always going to the more serious calls. You’re the ‘point man,’ they call it, the guy in front. If you like that kind of stuff, which I do, I knew I had to do this.”
Malone applied for the position when the Windsor Locks Police Department decided to start up its K-9 Unit again. The force had not had a dog since Dzierzgowski’s had to be retired due to health complications in 2010. Malone said that Police Chief Eric Osanitsch, Police Commissioner Kevin Brace and Dzierzgowski spearheaded the initiative, but it is now his duty to run with the K-9 program and make it a success. Malone hopes that another officer will become a handler in the near future.
“Early last year the Windsor Locks Police Commission started looking at ways to make the police department more pro-active, and reviving the K-9 program was a logical choice,” Brace said. "Officer Malone and Jaxx were the beginning of the change in culture at the Windsor Locks Police Department.”
Jaxx, who will turn 2 on March 1, was raised in West Virginia and has police work in his bloodlines, as he is the offspring of two police dogs. Malone and Jaxx started the rigorous 15-week program at the K-9 Academy on Oct. 8, 2012, with the first few weeks consisting of heavy obedience training. During the program, Malone took classes on how to properly handle the dog and also participated in field training with Jaxx, 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 Malone said Jaxx will likely go narcotic school in the future.
Jaxx weighs about 86 pounds, 12 of which is almost pure muscle that he gained at the K-9 Academy. Jaxx is a "toy reward dog," meaning that he will do anything for a toy, especially one particular object Malone uses. Malone said that Jaxx is a great house dog and gets along well with his wife and two other dogs. He noted that when Jaxx comes home from work, he turns the police dog switch off and is just like a puppy.