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Slain officer’s K9 to return to patrols

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

“Wolverine,” the K9 who was partner to Wayne State Police Officer Collin Rose, is expected to return to duty in mid-July, said Wayne State Police Chief Anthony Holt.

The dog, named for slain Detroit Police Officer Pat “Wolverine” Hill, a University of Michigan graduate, was partnered with Rose until he was fatally shot in late November. In the time since Rose’s shooting, the dog has been sent back to Alabama to AMK9, the company that trained him for service.

Officer Greg Roberts, 28, a two-year veteran of the department, will be Wolverine’s new partner. On Thursday, the pair completed their training together.

After training, Roberts was honored with the Collin Rose Award, given to the trainee who exhibits “exceptional, best-in-class” performance, said John Pearce, director of operations for AMK9’s Vapor Wake division. Roberts is the third person to win the award. His training began on April 17 and was supposed to last another week, but Roberts graduated early due to his “exceptional” command of the work.

Vapor Wake training, Pearce explained, means Wolverine “is capable of detecting explosives that were worn or carried, and of detecting static placements in buildings, luggage, freight.”

Some 150,000 people can be in the Midtown area patrolled by Wayne State police at any given time, Holt said. About 80 percent of the department’s runs take place beyond the Wayne State campus.

Rose and Wolverine were partnered up at a ceremony on Oct. 19, 2016, three years to the day from when Hill was killed in the line of duty. Prior to that partnership, Wolverine received Vapor Wake training, and the two had trained together that formed their bond. Wolverine was obtained with funds from the Ilitch Charities and the Detroit Tigers Foundation.

A little more than a month after the ceremony, Rose was fatally shot in the line of duty, the first Wayne State officer to ever be killed in the line of duty.

A man was briefly held in the shooting, then released when the Detroit Police Department discovered he was not the shooter. While police say that DNA evidence connects a man suspected in the shooting of two Detroit police officer, Raymond Durham, 60, to Rose’s shooting, he has not been charged in that case.

Chief Holt says that Roberts expressed an interest in being a K9 officer at his job interview. Roberts on his personal time had shadowed Rose as he worked as a K9 officer.

Success in handling a service dog requires “a love for animals, patience and initiative,” Pearce said.

“It’s not just going to work with a dog; it’s like having a child, (and) you care for the child, look out for them, as well as employ them.”

Roberts and Wolverine are headed back to Michigan after their training, and the two will continue to bond before returning to the streets, Pearce said.

AMK9 started granting the Rose award after the officer’s death. The honor is given to the trainee who has “proven through their attitude and work ethic to be the epitome of a K9 handler,” Pearce said. Those were the traits Rose embodied in his training, and Roberts in his.

“If you knew Collin Rose, you were touched by him,” Pearce said. “He was an exceptional dog person.”

jdickson@detroitnews.com