Officer Andrew Nadrowski and his new partner, Thorvi, recently completed training and have been patrolling the city together.

Officer Andrew Nadrowski and his new partner, Thorvi, recently completed training and have been patrolling the city together.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Royal Oak Police Department introduces female K-9 Thorvi

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published May 26, 2021

  Thorvi means “goddess of thunder."

Thorvi means “goddess of thunder."

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

ROYAL OAK — A new four-legged, furry-faced officer recently joined the ranks of the Royal Oak Police Department.

Thorvi, a 1 1/2-year-old Belgian Malinois whose name means “goddess of thunder,” is the first female K-9 officer to serve the department. She is partnered with officer Andrew Nadrowski, a five-year veteran of the force, and certified in tracking, apprehension and explosives.

Nadrowski was among a handful of officers interested in the position. Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue said the department tries to base its decisions on merit, so it brought in experienced K-9 officers to assist with the internal interview process.

“We looked at overall performance and work done. The decision was hard because we had great candidates who all do a great job,” O’Donohue said. “The one officer does have to pass a physical test.”

On Dec. 21, the Royal Oak City Commission unanimously approved the purchase of the new K-9 from Shallow Creek Kennels in Pennsylvania. The total cost for the dog, a six-week handler training course and lodging was $15,500, which came from state forfeiture funds.

The department at the time had two K-9 units, Jesse and Conan, who were both dual-purpose animals trained in tracking and narcotics detection. Police made the decision to retire Jesse after six years of service.

Nadrowski said Conan was one of the first dogs in Michigan that wasn’t trained to smell for marijuana, which is now recreationally legal.

O’Donohue said patrol dogs typically work in the field for five to seven years, but any longer becomes too much on their joints, so they live out the rest of their days as a family pet.

Nadrowski said Thorvi came to Shallow Creek Kennels from a town in the Netherlands and takes her commands in Dutch. Despite an initial attempt to have the community rename her, he said, Thorvi decided she liked her name best and did not respond to anything but her given name.

Nadrowski said he always wanted to be a K-9 handler because the dog can find things he cannot.

“She is smart. She’s a very obedient dog,” Nadrowski said. “At Shallow Creek, she had quite a few things that we were looking for. The first is obedience. Her obedience is spot-on, and her hunting drive is a huge one for us, so she likes tracking.”

The pair began working together April 23 and train once a week with approximately 30 K-9 teams from around southeast Michigan. On May 12, Thorvi completed an explosive sniff at Roseville Middle School following a bomb threat, which turned out to be a hoax.

He said Thorvi does passive detection, so she will lay down or sit if she wants to communicate something. While searching for a person, he said, she is trained to alert him by barking.

“She’s great with kids. My kids love her and she’s great with my wife. We have another dog. We haven’t really integrated that yet, but they know each other exist,” Nadrowski said. “Belgian Malinois is a very athletic breed of dog, and she’s very curious about everything. She’s a very friendly dog and wants to know people, wants attention.”

He said the most suprising part of the experience is that he chose a female dog.

“I never would have thought I would have been looking for a female dog. Going there, I saw all male dogs, but she stood out as the best one right out of the gate,” Nadrowski said. “She’s a good dog.”