Michigan State Police welcomes new canine unit to Alpena Post

By Steve Schulwitz
The Alpena News

ALPENA, Mich. (AP) - Getting away with crime in Northeast Michigan just got a little more difficult thanks to two new additions to the Michigan State Police Alpena Post.

Trooper Jordan Romel, an Alpena native, and his police dog Zed are now on patrol and it is the first time in years the Alpena post has had an operating canine unit.

Romel said he has wanted to be a police officer who worked with canines since he was a child. After graduating from the academy he took a job in Sault Ste. Marie as a trooper and on his third attempt was accepted to the canine unit and went through 14 weeks of training with Zed.

"When I was in preschool a canine trooper came to my class and did a presentation. I never forgot that and it was what I always wanted to do since," Romel told The Alpena News. "To be able to do this in my hometown makes it even more special."

Romel said Zed will work in the five county area MSP covers in Northeast Michigan. He said Zed is part of some type of investigation or search on almost a daily basis and thus far has performed well, despite his inexperience and brief time out training.

"For where we're at in our training he is doing really good," he said. "I think he's doing excellent."

Besides sniffing for narcotics and helping to apprehend suspects who may be trying to flee, Romel said Zed can be used to help track and locate people who may be lost in the woods. He said there is a long list of functions the dog can perform and many commands he responds to in order to successfully complete them.

"Of course he knows how to heel, sit, stay and he also knows what stop 'em means," Romel said. "He likes that one."

Romel said because of Zed's training and job he is different than other dogs and people should not try to pet him when they are in public. He said the dog was exposed to only a small number of people during training and is still becoming acclimated to new people and crowds of people.

"He just turned two and is still going through a little fear stage," Romel said. "Everything he is experiencing is new and a little scary to him. He is still being exposed to many things, so we are still working with him on that too."

While off duty Zed stays at home with Romel and his other dog. He said there is already a bond between the two and he expects it to continue to strengthen as time passes.

"We've only been together five months, so our relationship and bond is still growing," Romel said. "To see where we are now from when we were introduced until now it has been phenomenal. It is coming along really good."

Published: Thu, Aug 31, 2017