Ruger, a five-year-old Labrador and Shepherd mix, sat with his ears perked in the UMPD parking lot on the afternoon of Sept. 16, 2020. This year marks Ruger's fourth year at UMPD and second year as UMPD's explosive detective dog.
Ruger's handler, officer Rich Zizka, works with him at primarily at large University events, like as football games and other on campus events. Zizka and Ruger work to be as proactive as possible for the safety of the attendees.
Ruger is trained to be a single purpose dog. This means he only detects explosives, such as black powder and dynamite. He is trained to sit immediately upon detection of any of these orders.
Zizka has been a member of UMPD for about 15 years and Ruger is his third canine partnerr. The last dog he worked with, Bob, is now retired.
Zizka works intimately with the animals throughout the constant and time intensive training process. He did not originally join the police force to work with animals, but now works closely with Ruger, who also lives with him at home.
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