BASSETERRE, St Kitts — Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) in St Kitts has announced the addition of a K-9 unit to its Department of Safety and Security team.
K-9 officers, Kapitany, a Belgian-Malinois shepherd, and Ram, a German shepherd, arrived in St Kitts on Saturday, June 29, to begin further training with their RUSVM security team handlers.
The team recently completed an intensive training course in Florida with trainers from Southern Coast K-9, Inc., where the two dogs were obtained. Each K-9 officer is assigned to two handlers; RUSVM security officers, I.C. Kennis Williams and I.C. Michael Williams are responsible for Kapitany, while I.C. Vernon Taylor and I.C. Devon Warner are responsible for Ram.
K-9 members are not a new concept, as many university campuses throughout the world have incorporated canine membership into their security team.
“We are always looking for ways to increase the effectiveness of the Ross security program,” said Albert du Plessis, RUSVM director of safety and security. “The K-9 unit is an effective way to improve our capability to respond to various situations.”
Kapitany and Ram are considered dual-purpose dogs and are trained in tracking, search, and suspect apprehension. They will be utilized for crime prevention efforts and are both capable of handler protection. The canine officers will primarily be a part of the RUSVM Department of Safety and Security’s mobile patrol team, responding to RUSVM community member calls and assisting with searches and officer foot patrols. Their service on-campus will include patrols and perimeter control of the campus borders.
Protocol and procedures including continued training, regular veterinary care and appropriate diet have been established with input from the trainers, as well as RUSVM faculty members and veterinarians from RUSVM’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Refresher training for the human and canine officers will be conducted every eight to 12 months. Kapitany and Ram will also provide public demonstrations of their abilities and attend campus events, when appropriate.
“Ram and I are true partners and a great addition to our team,” said Warner. “We have a relationship built on commitment. Ram looks to me for continued training and care, and I trust his ability to track when we are on patrol.”
The RUSVM K-9 Unit is scheduled to be fully functional in mid-August after Kapitany and Ram complete their 28-day confinement period as required by the St Kitts Department of Agriculture. During this period, Dr Lesroy Henry, veterinary officer with the Department of Agriculture will oversee the care of the canines. The RUSVM Safety and Security Department plans to work closely with officers of the Royal St Christopher and Nevis Police Force in collaboration among the various K-9 units.