Purdue police add 3rd K-9 unit

October 2, 2012  

Kevin Balzer with Vara

Purdue University police officer Kevin Balzer with Vara, a 2-year-old  German shepherd. (Purdue University photo)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The newest member of Purdue University's police force won't wear a badge or drive a patrol car, but she will help take a bite out of crime.

The department has added a 2-year-old German shepherd trained in narcotics detection and criminal apprehension. Named Vara, the dog has been assigned evening-shift officer Kevin Balzer.

Vara (pronounced Var-a), which has been with Balzer since May, joins a Purdue police K-9 unit that now numbers three. Macho, a Dutch shepherd trained to detect explosives, joined the force in June 2010. Nicky, also a Dutch shepherd that is trained in narcotics detection, has been with the force since 2008. All three dogs are trained in apprehending suspects. Each is a member of the Metro K-9 unit and will be used as needed in Tippecanoe County, as well.

"With the addition of Vara, we are now able to have a K-9 narcotics team for each night shift," Purdue police Capt. Tim Potts said. "Before now one shift had to rely on another agency to provide a narcotics detection dog, so this makes us a stronger and more efficient police force."

The newest K-9 was born in the Czezch Republic, said Balzer, who attended a six-week training course with Vara at Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, Ind., before the dog became an active member of the force. Purdue Housing and Food Services provided funding to buy Vara.

Balzer has been with the Purdue Police Department for three years, having previously served in the U.S. Air Force Security Forces.

Writer: Jim Bush, 765-494-2077, jsbush@purdue.edu

Sources: Tim Potts, 765-494-8221, tapotts@purdue.edu

Kevin Balzer, 765-494-8221, krbalzer@purdue.edu

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