UI police adds two police dogs to the force

The UI Department of Public Safety has added two new police dogs to its staff.


Megan Nagorzanski

Officer Mohling (from left) K9 Brad, K9 Hogan and Officer Monter pose for a portrait on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.

Rachel Steil, News Reporter

Prepared to serve and protect the University of Iowa campus, two new dogs have joined the University of Iowa police force. 

The two K9 units were added to the staff over the summer, with officers Jerrad Mohling and Nathan Monter stepping up to their assignments as K9 handlers.

Mohling handles K9 Brad, a German shepherd, known for his amicability. Monter handles the well-behaved K9 Hogan, a German shorthaired pointer. All dogs in the department are specialized in tracking and explosives. 

“[The dogs] are used for big events, whether political or athletic, and routine patrol,” Monter said. 

Brad is one of two K9 units in the department that deal with apprehension, which means he assists in arrests with dangerous suspects.  

Hogan, however, is not an apprehension dog and sticks to sniffing out explosives and tracking. 

“K9 Hogan is the only K9 in the surrounding area that is trained to track to humans without apprehension,” UI media-relations manager Hayley Bruce wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan. “This allows K9 Hogan to be used in lost-persons cases.”

Monter said he always knows exactly when Hogan has completed his job.

K9 Hogan returns the ball to his handler Officer Monter on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.

“When he finds ‘source,’ which is where the odor is coming from — whether it be a person, explosive, or article — he just gets really ramped up and happy that he found what he was looking for,” Monter said.  

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Although the department does not have any narcotics dogs on staff, the Iowa City police do. Mohling said Iowa City police K9s and the UI’s K9s will likely provide for a mutually beneficial relationship. 

“We work well with the [Iowa City police],” Mohling said. “City has narcotics dogs, and we have bomb dogs. It is a way to be compatible with each other.”

Monter said the police typically aim to operate with a three-dog staff. With the two new K9s, the department is once again fully staffed in that area.

“Having multiple K9 handlers allows our department to be self-supporting when it comes to ensuring safety at an increasing number of special events such as commencement, athletics events, and visits to campus by political candidates,” Bruce said.

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Having three K9 units allows the department to rely less on other agencies for assistance in K9 operations, Bruce said. The department had operated with one K9 unit since December 2018 after K9 Falo retired because of a medical condition. 

“[Having a three-dog staff] definitely makes it easier, especially when it comes to special events at Kinnick,” Mohling said. “It takes three hours for us to do a sweep at Kinnick as it is. If you can imagine only one dog, it would be very time consuming.”

Both officers provided insight into the K9-selection process, agreeing that the police don’t pick the dogs — the dogs pick the police.

“Hogan was the first dog they brought out,” Monter said about the first time he met his K9 partner. “I kneel down so he can come up to me and he knocks me over, lays on top of me; we are best friends now.”

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Mohling knew that he and Brad would jive as soon as he met the K9. 

“He seemed like a pretty mellow individual,” Mohling said. “We matched up characteristic-wise and in mood.”

Monter emphasized that he aspired to become a police officer since he was in second grade. When he found out that officers could handle dogs, he said he was thrilled. 

“Going to work with a dog every day is great. Being a cop every day is great, and now you’re letting me do it with a dog?” Monter said. “It’s the best job in the world.”