FOREST CITY, Iowa – The Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office is letting folks meet their K-9 Deputy, Yeira.
Seeing Yeira interact with kids and posing for photos at Forest City Puckerbrush Days, you’d never know that just ten minutes earlier she was chasing down a “criminal” in a bite suit.
The department is demonstrating the different things Yeira can do, along with her handler, Deputy Brett Wilson.
“You’ve got to have an interest in it, cause it’s a 24-hour day thing when you’re working. They’re with you when you’re home, they’re with you. [You] Spend more time with the dog than a lot of your family members,” explains Wilson.
Wilson has been Yeira’s partner for two years. The duo works on a daily basis to keep their training fresh.
Yeira’s mostly used for narcotics detection, but she’s also trained to track people.
The K-9 Deputy wowed the crowd with her criminal apprehension skills, where she took down a man wearing a bite suit.
She has been taught controlled aggression, which means she only bites when Wilson tells him, and stops when he commands.
“It’s nice you’ve always got someone in the car with you. It’s nice to have back up whenever you need it.”
If he ever does need her, she’s trained to protect him against anyone trying to harm him. Wilson has a special button on his belt. If he’s getting attacked it opens the squad car’s door, allowing Yeira to help him out.
After her demonstration, the crowd got a chance to meet her proving that she really is a normal dog when she’s not working.
“If they understand, they’re more receptive to it, its kind of neat. Sometimes police dogs get the wrap of being mean dogs. It’s nice to get them out and show that they like kids and they can do their job, but still be a dog too.”
Yeira is 4-years old and the department hopes to have her until she is 9 or 10.
At that point, she can retire with the Wilson’s to live out the rest of her life as simply a pet.
Yeira is the county’s only dog on staff, and she doesn’t just work with Winnebago County; she has been used in Kossuth and Cerro Gordo Counties to name a few.