K-9 Officer Merica forms a new bond

K-9 Officer Merica forms a new bond


K-9 Officer Merica. Photo Credit: NSC Photography


K-9 Officer Merica Forms a New Bond.

Merica is a five-year-old Belgian Malinois working for the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Missouri. The Department received funds from the NPDF for rebonding training between Merica and a newly assigned handler. NPDF was able to provide these funds thanks to generous donations from the public.

Purchased in 2014, Merica connected very well with his original handler, but the officer, unfortunately, had to switch departments. Needing a new handler, Merica was assigned to Officer Joshua McKenney in 2016.

Sean Gibbons, a sergeant of the Ferguson PD, explains that, while starting a new dog is difficult, “it is often far more difficult to re-assign a dog to a new handler.” Forging this bond is not easy, so the Ferguson Police had a unique challenge on their hands.

The department decided that training is the most natural and effective way to bond K-9 Merica with his new handler. Using funds from the NPDF, they sent Merica and Officer McKenney away for a few weeks to train. Their education covered everything from handler initiation to narcotics, building searches, and apprehension. These trainings specifically assess the handler’s ability to lead the K-9, and the K-9’s ability to follow. Gibbons explains how Merica “really enjoys training and working,” so their bonding proved to be very successful.

Today, Merica is a dual-purpose patrol K-9, so his tasks vary. He can be found doing narcotics searches, tracking fleeing subjects, locating weapons, apprehending subjects, or assisting with crowd control. Gibbons describes how Merica is also very approachable, serving as a “superior public relations division to the department, and is extremely hardworking and driven.”

Sergeant Gibbons would like to personally thank the NPDF for their support. He explains how “it is so difficult to locate funding for K-9 units for smaller departments” and how the NPDF’s support “made essential training possible.”

Written by Maya D.


The NPDF recognizes the importance of the bond between a K-9s and their handlers, and is proud to help build these relationships.
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