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police agencies get leg up with canine cops
By DAN ROBLEE
and RYAN OLSON
The Daily Mining Gazette, Houghton
April 16, 2001
HOUGHTON, Mich. (AP) -- Sometimes the finest police
work is conducted by a partner on four legs.
Two area police agencies routinely call on dogs to walk the thin
blue line. The Houghton City Police Department uses Quade, a 6-year-old
German Shepherd for anything ranging from drug detection to search
and rescue. The Houghton County Sheriff Department is helped in
drug searches by Packer, a 3-year-old black Labrador.
With recent threats of violence at Houghton High School,
Quade and his partner, Jimmy Destrampe, have been unusually busy.
The pair had been spending full days Destrampe in plain clothes
at the school, then suiting up for regular night patrols.
Quade lived last week among the chaos of bells and crowds, absorbing
the adoration bestowed on the acknowledged superstar of Houghton's
"It was fun to have the dog at the school," said HHS senior
Actually, Quade visits schools regularly, working with Destrampe
to increase trust for police among students.
"He's good with kids, a good face to the department,"
Destrampe said. "At one kindergarten class, I sat on a little
chair and all the kids were crowding around. He crawled right up
in my lap he didn't know what to do but he knew he couldn't hurt
While the 95-pound shepherd may be a gentle giant in the classroom,
Houghton Chief of Police Ralph Raffaelli said Quade is second to
none in crime-stopping.
The dog can help search for lost people, sniff out several varieties
of narcotics on command, and provide help in emergencies, Raffaelli
"If Jim were under fire or in a situation where someone was
trying to harm him, the dog would protect him," Raffaelli said.
"I'm sure of it."
Quade recently proved his valor during a Feb. 28 breaking and entering
at the Apothecary of Houghton in the Michigan Tech University SDC.
The dog, Destrampe, and officer Craig Bastion responded to a burglar
alarm in time to discover the alleged perpetrator still in the pharmacy.
The man attempted to flee on foot, but Quade was quicker.
"Quade caught up and jumped him," Destrampe said. "Officer
Bastion pinned him to the wall, and I held him at gunpoint.
"Basically, he recognized the aggression," Destrampe said.
"If I need him, he'll be there."
Quade has been Destrampe's partner, and a member of the family,
for most of his life. He was purchased by the city for about $5,000
from a breeder at a young age, and the partners underwent $10,000
worth of intensive training together. Now, they're almost inseparable.
"He lives at home," Destrampe said. "He used to get
to sleep with me, but then I got married; now he's demoted to the
floor. I wake up in the middle of the night and he's staring. He's
always worried about me."
Quade gets nervous if Destrampe leaves him home alone, so they go
to the gym together on off days. When Destrampe eventually needs
a little personal time, Quade sometimes rides along on other officers'
patrols, or hangs out at the police station, popping his head over
the counter to greet surprised ticket payers.
"Otherwise, everywhere I go he's on my heels," Destrampe
The relationship between sheriff's Deputy Dan Judnich and Packer,
a male black Lab, is a little more professional. Packer is used
to sniff for drugs during traffic stops, for search warrants and
Packer's living arrangements are different from Quade's. A Calumet
family owns Packer and keeps him at their farm as a pet; they let
the sheriff's department use him for police work when the need arises.
"It's been a super relationship," Judnich said. "You
can't meet nicer people. They've been extra nice to us and really
helped out the department."
Like any good partner, Judnich picks up Packer when it's time to
work and returns him when the shift is over. He said drug searches
are like a game for the dog.
"It's amazing to see the difference in his attitude when he
knows he's supposed to be working," Judnich said. "He's
just a totally different dog. One minute, he could be laying around,
not doing anything. When you tell him it's time to find some drugs,
he's bright-eyed and bushy tailed he just wants to work."