The duty of a K9 Officer requires committment to intense training and maintaining a devoted partnership between handler and K9. The bond between K9 and handler is essential for success during complex and adverse situations.
Officer Jim Strappazon joined the Matteson Police Department in April of 2006. In 2012 Officer Strappazon succeeded K9 Officer Dermody after his retirement. Officer Dermody served the position of K9 Unit for over 15 years. During this period he successfully trained with and handled three sequential K9's; Wanko, Lobo, and Zaron.
K9 Xanto, a sable German Shepherd, joined the Matteson Police Department in April of 2012. Officer Strappazon and Xanto became the Police Department's new K9 Unit in June 2012 after completing a six week intitial training course by the American Police K9 Association. Officer Strappazon and Xanto are certified in obedience, area search, article search, tracking, building search, aggression control, and narcotics detection. Xanto is trained to detect and alert on several classifications of narcotics including marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, LSD, and ecstacy. In order to sustain adequate competency in these areas, the K9 Unit is required by state law to complete a minimum of 16 hours of progressive training monthly.
Devotion to a K9 Unit is a vigorous responsibility, but the gratification that accompanies it is unrivaled.