‘A BALL OF PLAYFULNESS AND DIRT’German Shepherd Thor joins city police

Published 11:45 am Monday, November 26, 2012

Vicksburg’s newest member of the police force is less than a year old but he is already following in his father’s footsteps.

Thor, an 11-month old pure-bred German shepherd, joined the police department Nov. 19 after spending more than three months in training at Law Enforcement Canine Consultants in Ellisville, police Capt. Bobby Stewart said.

The pup is the offspring of X-on who has served as a canine officer for the department since 2008. By breeding X-on, the department saved several thousand dollars, Stewart said.

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“The only thing we paid for was the training of the handler and the dog,” Stewart said.

Training costs a combined $5,000 for both Thor and his handler, officer Wesley Miller, Stewart said. When Vicksburg Police Department purchsed X-on in 2008, the dog cost $13,500.

Miller, an Iraq war veteran who has been with VPD four years, said he and Thor graduated from the training academy Nov. 16 before starting shift work Nov. 19.

“For now the shift is a little short, so they wanted me to stay on, but hopefully they will move me to the canine division soon,” Miller said.

Thor did well in training and is trained in narcotics, apprehension and tracking, Miller said.

“He’s got a little work to do on his tracking, but on everything else, he’s golden,” Miller said.

The German shepherd weighs in at about 70 pounds, but he’s still got a lot of growing to do, Miller said. Thor is expected to surpass the 100 pound mark once he is fully grown, but he may turn out to be a gentle giant.

“He’s very mild-mannered. He’ll go get somebody, but he’s not mean by any means,” Miller said. “He’s just a ball of playfulness and dirt.”

In addition to the two German shepherds, VPD also uses Bosco, a 5-year-old Belgian malinois who previously worked with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a department of U.S. Homeland Security.