K9 Officer Mekel Graduates To Mansfield Police Department

  • 5/17/2019 3:51:28 PM
  • Jenna Ramolt
  • Local News

MANSFIELD, OH - Friday morning Officer Jacob Rietschlin's dream came true when the K9 Officer he had been training with finally graduated, ready to take on the big job of serving the Mansfield Division of Police.

Mekel, a two year old German Shepherd from the Czech Republic, has been training for nine weeks. Rietschlin, however, has been waiting for this moment since he joined the department thirteen years ago.

"This is my dream, to be a K9 handler for the City of Mansfield," said Officer Rietschlin, who grew up on a farm in Shelby working with animals. "Growing up I always worked with hunting dogs, and it was kind of a passion I had... an officer here in Mansfield had a dog named Desi. I rode with him a couple times and it just kind of set the passion in my heart to do it."

It wasn't an easy road to this day. Officer Rietschlin had been assigned another K9 in September, but the dog didn't meet the high standards of the Mansfield Division of Police. It was hard on Rietschlin, but he says his family helped to pull him through it and encouraged him to keep working towards his goal.

His family was present with him at the graduation, as well as his father. They, along with several of Rietschlin's fellow officers and Mayor Tim Theaker, were treated to a taste of what Mekel can really do with a bite test.

Mekel, named for the Archangel Michael by Rietschlin and his wife, is trained for tracking, drugs, bite work, and article searches. Sergeant Sara Napier told the crowd Friday that Mekel is one of the best dogs the department has ever seen.

"With Meek, he came already with obedience. I had to learn myself, but he already knew it... it seems like he's picking things up quick. I've seen him in two weeks learn all the drugs... He usually gets within fifteen to twenty seconds all three articles. He's just a very, very good dog," said Rietschlin.

Mekel is a mild-mannered dog and seems to be settling in with his new family well. When not on duty, Mekel is spending his days with Rietschlin's wife, Jessica, and their children, Nathan and Grace.

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