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updated: 4/24/2013 9:07 AM

Aurora to get police dogs from Europe via Michigan

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Aurora soon will be getting four police dogs from Hungary via northern Michigan under a $50,000 contract the city council approved to bring K9s back to the force.

Four dogs trained to sniff out drugs and help with patrol activities such as missing person searches will be coming to Aurora from Northern Michigan K9, which imports its dogs from Europe -- usually Hungary, according to a memo from police Lt. Rick Robertson.

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Police suggested the $50,000 bid from the Michigan company over a $46,260 bid from TOPS Kennels of Grayslake because Northern Michigan K9s provides better training for officers who will handle the dogs, offers a local trainer at no cost and has worked well for the Kane County sheriff's office, according to Robertson.

Northern Michigan K9s trains its dogs to indicate when they have found the scent of drugs or a missing person with a "passive response" instead of an "active response" of digging or biting at the spot. The company also instructs handlers to give the dog a 20- to 30-foot leash while searching to protect themselves from unnecessary risks, which Robertson said is best practice for K9 operations.

A Kane County sheriff's deputy is certified to train other officers about proper handling of police dogs and assist with questions after the training process.

Aurora is looking to build its own K9 team with $260,000 available in this year's budget. When the K9 unit begins operating, Aurora will have police dogs at crime scenes sooner than under the current practice of asking nearby jurisdictions with dogs to respond.

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