Officer Orry would like you to shake his paw.
Readers, meet K-9 Officer Orry, of the Oak Forest Police Department. It might be best you meet under these circumstances, rather than while Orry's on the job.
Patch learned that firsthand in a bite demonstration with editor Lauren Traut as bait.
Orry is a 7-year-old German Shepard who has been with Officer Jason Vodnik for four years. He is a dual-purpose dog imported from Germany, trained in narcotic detection and handler protection. He can track drugs, locate hidden suspects, and protect his handler.
Vodnik works with Orry once a week for several hours, running through various drills to test the dog's obedience and limits, increase his responsiveness and expand his skillset. All of the sessions include bite demonstrations, with Orry practicing attacks on a decoy covered in a protective suit. Orry's biggest successes include a drug bust that yielded 275 pounds of marijuana, and tracking down a shotgun used in a robbery, based on scent left behind on the offender's ski mask.
"Everybody's impressed by the large find, but I like it when we find 2 grams of something that someone else didn't," Vodnik said.
When he's off-duty, Orry has a home with Vodnik and his family. He enjoys his chew toys (a piece of the bite suit worn by decoys in training) and cuddle time with Vodnik's family.
Dogs like Orry, with basic training and accessories, cost approximately $10,000 to $12,000, Vodnik said. The typical career of a police dog like Orry is 7 to 9 years. When he hangs up his badge, Orry will become a permanent house-dog—and continue his role as guard dog for his family's home.