Sheriff’s deputy gets a new four-legged partnerOne-year-old Havoc shows no signs of ferocity and isn’t out of control. In fact, his demeanor shatters every kind of stereotype people have of law enforcement dogs.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
One-year-old Havoc shows no signs of ferocity and isn’t out of control. In fact, his demeanor shatters every kind of stereotype people have of law enforcement dogs.
After running around to burn off some energy, the German shepherd and Belgian malinois mix plops himself down on a shaded grassy hill and rolls onto his back with all four paws in the air, giving his handler an obvious cue that now would be a great time for a belly rub.
“That’s how vicious they are,” Goodhue County K-9 Deputy Jim Goham joked as he gave in to the pup’s request.
What’s seen in movies and on TV tends to give civilians the impression that law enforcement dogs are malicious, but Goham said that’s simply not the case and Havoc is anything but.
“He’s extremely social,” the deputy said. “It’s controlled aggression.”
Havoc will soon be the newest member of the team at the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office. He and Goham are going through K-9 training school in St. Paul.
The pair goes up to the Twin Cities and trains eight hours a day from Monday through Friday.
“For 12 weeks,” Goham said. “Twelve very long weeks.”
Although the schooling isn’t required, Goham said he prefers to attend with each dog he gets because it’s much more structured than trying to train on his own.
Havoc comes to Goodhue County from Slovakia. The sheriff’s department could have gotten a K-9 in the United States, but there are certain benefits to getting dogs from Europe.
“They’re bred strictly for law enforcement and military,” Goham explained. “When (Havoc) gets in the car, that’s what he wants to do. He wants to go out and find the bad guys.”
Whether Havoc would have come from Slovakia or somewhere more local, he still wouldn’t have come cheap. The pup cost about $7,500, Goham said. However, a $5,000 donation from Nestle Purina in Hager City made the purchase much more affordable.
“Without the help of them and a great administration, it’s not possible,” Goham said.
Although he may be the newest, Havoc certainly isn’t the only pup prepared to help take down criminals in Goodhue County. He joins two other law enforcement dogs; deputy Matt Hoekstra’s partner is named Ransom and investigator Collins Voxland handles Chopper.
Each of the dogs sports a unique and somewhat intimidating name, and Havoc has his human counterpart to thank for that.
“Havoc seemed to fit. The dogs take on our personalities, and I don’t sit still,” Goham said with the laugh.
While the dog has received all of the deputy’s attention for the past few months, he isn’t the first Goham has handled.
From 2006 to 2011, the deputy’s K-9 partner was a German shepherd named Titan. Medical issues with the dog’s spine meant he had to be retired. Titan, now 8 years old, was much more experienced than Havoc, but Goham said he already sees positives in the new dog’s performance.
“He’s more natural,” Goham said. “The way he loves to track is great.”
Tracking, doing building searches, apprehending suspects and detecting narcotics are just some of the skills that Havoc practices regularly at the K-9 academy. He and Goham are quickly approaching graduation on May 24 at the St. Paul Kennels.
After that, Goham said he’s excited to be out on the road with Havoc — and even more excited for some of those initial “puppy” traits to diminish so he’s easier to keep up with.
“This guy wants to go 100 mph. I cannot wait for nine months from now when he grows out of it.”