Clairton police Sgt. Bob Ferry is getting to know his new best friend.
“We’re doing well,” Ferry said Wednesday after a four-hour round trip to Sharpsville to pick up the department’s new K-9 officer, a 14-month old German shepherd named Jerry. “I’m excited and ready to go. I meet with the trainer tomorrow and we will go over all of the things that I should and shouldn’t be doing (as I) get to know Jerry and he gets to know me.”
Ferry, a 13-year veteran of the force and a full-time employee for seven years, said he always has wanted to be a K-9 handler.
Wednesday’s journey from Shallow Creek Kennels in Mercer County began an intensive 30-day bonding period for Ferry and Jerry. They will learn to trust one another and work together.
The next step will be a 10-week training program that will cover obedience, narcotics, tracking and apprehension. The duo will travel throughout Western Pennsylvania five days a week to train in different locations to prevent becoming acclimated to a particular site.
“If he goes into a building, you don’t want him to know that he looks for drugs here or people there,” Clairton Sgt. Keith Zenkovich said. “That way, Jerry will get used to different environments and surfaces. He can do anything anywhere.”
Zenkovich, who has been a K-9 handler since May 2008 with Belgian malinois Ike, said Ferry and his dog will build a stronger bond as training progresses.