Photo Gallery | Kumar, the new K-9 officer, in Adams
This article was modified to correct the name of the nonprofit that raised funds for Kumar's vest.
ADAMS -- The Adams Police Department's new K-9, Kumar, is now fully certified and in use by his handler, Officer Curtis Crane.
Kumar completed his training in May and is now certified in the tracking and apprehension of suspects, location of narcotics, and tracking of missing persons -- "any human scent," Crane said. The 2-year-old German shepherd, added to the force through a Stanton Foundation Grant earlier this year, has already been used on one occasion with police in North Adams.
Just a few weeks into the job, Kumar has been fitted for a bulletproof vest that will be awarded through a grant from the nonprofit Vested Interest in K-9s Inc, according to Crane and Police Chief Richard Tarsa. Based in East Taunton, Vested Interest in K-9s Inc. has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to fit more than 1,000 working police dogs across the country with the protection, according to its website.
"Their goal is to fit as many K-9s as they can with a bulletproof vest," Tarsa said.
The savings from the donated vest will not only potentially save Kumar's life, but will also help extend the life of the $25,000 Stanton Foundation grant, which was projected to fund the first three years of Kumar's use on the force.
"It's a huge advantage for us," Tarsa said.
Kumar, who was born in the Netherlands, lives in a spacious outdoor kennel at Crane's house. Crane is the only officer trained and authorized to handle Kumar -- Crane volunteered for the job -- a 24/7 commitment -- and even learned basic Dutch for Kumar's commands. The two met in January and bonded immediately, Crane said.
Now that Crane and Kumar are a fully certified team, however, there's work to do.
The duo was called to North Adams last week after an hour after a suspected assault in North Adams. Though the scent trail was cold, Kumar tracked the suspect nearly a mile away from the original scene of the alleged crime.
Thanks to the vest, Kumar will soon have extra protection during such potentially dangerous situations. Crane, a seven-year veteran of the department, will assess when the vest is necessary for Kumar's protection, he said.
Kumar is fitting in just fine with his coworkers at the police department, whom he loves to greet, Crane said.
"He's super sociable," Crane said.
Kumar and Crane will be at Adams' Community Night, in the Visitor Center parking lot on Hoosac Street, from 6 to 8 tonight.
When they're not doing community outreach or on a call, Crane and Kumar might be spotted around town performing different training exercises. On some occasions, Crane said, another officer will leave a scent trail through a field or forest, only for Kumar to track it an hour later.
To reach Adam Shanks:
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