The Eureka Police Department Canine Unit was formed in 1993 and currently consists of one officer and one canine. The unit’s active duty canine is Reno. Reno’s human partner and handler is Officer Michael Werges.
Officer Werges and Reno attended the St Louis Metropolitan Police Canine School. The course trained the canine unit in obedience, agility, article search, suspect search and apprehension.
Officer Werges and Reno are very active in the community. In additiona to their everyday duties they visit schools, churches and other civic organizations.
History of Canine Units: One of the first real attempts to use dogs to aid police in the detection of crime and the apprehension of a criminal was made in 1869 by the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police of London, Sir Charles Warren. Warren’s repeated failures at identifying and apprehending the serial killer Jack the Ripper had earned him much vilification from the press, including being denounced for not using bloodhounds to track the killer. He soon had two bloodhounds trained for the performance of a simple tracking test from the scene of another of the killer’s crimes. The results were far from satisfactory, with one of the hounds biting the Commissioner and both dogs later running off, requiring a police search to find them.
It was in Continental Europe that dogs were first used on a large scale. Police in Paris began using dogs against roaming criminal gangs at night, but it was the police department in Ghent, Belgium that introduced the first organized police dog service program in 1899. These methods soon spread to Austria-Hungary and Germany; in the latter the first scientific developments in the field took place with experiments in dog breeding and training. The German police selected the German Shepherd Dog as the ideal breed for police work and opened up the first dog training school in 1920 in Greenheide. The dogs were systematically trained in obedience to their officers and tracking and attacking criminals.
In Britain, the North Eastern Railway Police were the first to use police dogs in 1908 to put a stop to theft from the docks in Hull. By 1910, railway police forces were experimenting with other breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, and German Shepherds