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Harper Woods

October 22, 2013

Police K-9 makes his mark in department

By April Lehmbeck
C & G Staff Writer

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Harper Woods K-9 officer Xander enjoys a pet from Cindy Lee during a family safety day at Home Depot Oct. 5.

HARPER WOODS — Despite his small stature and only having been on the job a short time, officer Xander is doing some impressive police work on the streets.

Xander, a German shepherd, stopped by the City Council meeting Oct. 7 with his partner, officer Dan Schewe, for a presentation.

Sgt. John Vorgitch handed Schewe something special that night.

“It’s going to be his official badge,” Vorgitch said as he passed over the badge.

Xander used to work with Schewe in Inkster before Schewe was laid off during budget cuts.

When the dog came to Harper Woods, Xander needed to be recertified. Xander didn’t initially come into the department with Schewe, who owns the dog, but Public Safety Director James Burke wanted to bring him on, too.

He gained recertification the first time through the process.

“We found Harper Woods and fell in love with it here,” Schewe said. “The chief gave us the opportunity to work together again, so I’m very appreciative. We’re very happy to be together serving the community.”

“Xander’s a full-service patrol dog, so he’s certified in narcotics, tracking and apprehension,” Schewe said. “He’s got all his certifications, and he’s ready to go. His favorite thing to do is track.”

On Oct. 7, they had only a short time on the road together, but the news was good.

“We’ve been on the road together for about seven days, and Xander’s already seized a significant amount of drug money.”

In the first couple of weeks on duty, Xander was responsible for $10,000 in asset forfeiture for drug-related crimes, according to Harper Woods police.

Burke is pleased with the decision to bring Xander into the department.

Burke said Xander is already making a major impact with drug investigations and other police work.

There have been instances when Xander indicated that he smelled drugs while searching a car at a traffic stop.

“If we wouldn’t have had the dog, we wouldn’t have known,” Burke said. “His dog is one of the highest-rated dogs in the state of Michigan.” 

Xander has assisted one of the Grosse Pointes on a case,­ and the department is receiving calls from the state police and county agencies to use the dog for their cases, as well.

“The dog’s reputation is quickly being known out there as very effective,” Lt. Robert Hunter said.

“He’s a huge hit around the station here,” Hunter said.

He has a dog bed and biscuits at the department.

“He loves working,” Hunter said. “The dog is just phenomenal to have.”

Hunter said Schewe has a passion for the K9 program and Xander’s training that makes him a great asset.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer April Lehmbeck at alehmbeck@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1043.