IM MSP welcomes K-9 officer

Theresa Proudfit/ Daily News Michigan State Police Trooper Ryan Rossler and Nikko.

IRON MOUNTAIN — Michigan State Police Trooper Ryan Rossler is a 1998 graduate of North Dickinson High School.

His new partner comes from considerably farther away.

Nikko is a 1 1/2-year-old German shepherd by way of Hungary. He and Rossler recently graduated along with 11 other teams from the MSP’s basic K-9 school.

The handlers received more than 500 hours of instruction and the canine teams covered more than 100 miles on foot as they trained in various disciplines including tracking, narcotics detection, building search, area search, property search, obedience and aggression.

Nikko officially joined Rossler July 5 at the MSP Iron Mountain post, where Rossler has worked for the past five years.

The shepherd performs narcotics detections, article searches, building searches and area searches for missing persons.

“If we have someone running off into the woods or if an Alzheimer’s patient wanders off, he can track them and locate them,” Rossler said.

Nikko already has been successful on few calls. “He assisted Iron Mountain Police Department recently on an incident at the Super 8,” Rossler said.

Rossler said the time away from home for training was difficult, but in the long run it will be worth it.

“I think he will be a good tool for law enforcement as well as a benefit for the community. Everybody loves dogs — well, most people do. It will be a good way to connect with people in the community that might not otherwise talk to police officers.”

MSP first established K-9 units in 1960. Nearly all of its dogs are German shepherds because the breed offers intelligent problem-solving abilities and a high work drive to handle the various demands and stress of the job.

K-9 units provide services in explosive, accelerant and cadaver detection, as well as the tactical entry dog program for the MSP Emergency Support Team. Within the past year, the unit added two black Labrador retrievers to focus specifically on evolving crimes. One is trained to detect explosives in motion and one can sniff out high-tech evidence such as computer equipment.