Officer Volkert & K9 Kermit
Launch of LMPD's K9 Unit:
Ever since she became involved in law enforcement, Lower Moreland Police Department Officer Sierra Volkert knew she wanted to be a K9 police officer. This Spring, that longstanding career aspiration will become a reality when the LMPD launches a K9 unit to help protect and serve the Lower Moreland community.
Officer Volkert, who grew up in Carbon County, Pa., attended the Reading City Police Academy before joining the LMPD in June 2019. “I grew up with dogs, and have always seen them as an awesome tool in law enforcement,” said Officer Volkert. “I always knew it was something I wanted to do.” So, when the LMPD announced in November 2020 that a K9 unit was being formed, she jumped at the opportunity. In January 2021, Officer Volkert completed a selection process test, and then was chosen as the department’s first K9 police officer.
Benefits of a K9 Unit:
Historically, the LMPD has been reliant on police departments in neighboring townships when a police dog is needed, for example to track a missing person. Soon, when such a need arises, the LMPD will be able to call on Officer Volkert and Kermit, a one-and-a-half-year-old German Shepherd, who is trained to be a dual-purpose law enforcement dog.
There are many benefits a K9 unit brings to a police department, including drug prevention, enhanced capabilities in search-and-rescue situations, and community relations. A dog’s keen sense of smell is extremely useful for law enforcement purposes. Police dogs can detect unseen drugs using just their nose, making it easier to prevent drugs from entering a community. That super sense also allows police dogs to track people, either for criminal apprehension purposes or to find someone who is missing. In a missing person case, minutes are essential,” said Officer Volkert. “Especially if the person we’re looking for is a child or person with dementia.” Having a dog by their side also makes police officers more approachable, as many people enjoy being around man’s best friend. This can lead to better trust and stronger bonds between police officers and the residents they serve.
Having Kermit ready and available will have a huge impact on the LMPD’s ability to prevent crime, respond to time-sensitive emergencies, and connect with the community. Ultimately, he will help make Lower Moreland an even safer place to live, work and play.
Kermit received his initial training at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The Working Dog Center serves as a national research and development center for detection dogs.
The Working Dog Center starts training puppies at eight weeks old. The dogs participate in a variety of exercises designed to help them gradually develop the basic skills necessary to be successful in detection. Once they graduate from the Penn Vet program, the dogs learn to apply their search skills to a specified target odor, such as explosives, narcotics, or medical-related scents. In August, Kermit will begin patrol school. By October, he will be a fully functional dual-purpose dog, out on daily patrol with the ability to sniff out narcotics or track missing persons. In addition to his patrol duties, Kermit is also sure to become a feature at community events, once COVID-19 precautions safely allow for the resumption of larger gatherings.
“We’re very excited to do community events and let the residents meet him,” said Officer Volkert. “We’ll also be going into schools—he’s great with kids—and just continue to build on that sense of cohesiveness that we have with the community.”
“Something unique about the Lower Moreland Police Department is how engaged and involved we are with the community,” Officer Volkert added. “I really enjoy getting out and talking to people, going to schools and talking to kids, and just going that extra step to serve the community the best we can. The K9 unit will be one more step in that commitment.”
As with any police dog, Kermit is friendly and well-tempered, but residents are asked to be sure to ask the officer before approaching or petting if you see him around town. “We really appreciate the community’s support,” said Officer Volkert. “We’re both excited to get to work, meet members of the community, and keep proving a high level of service to Lower Moreland.”
Follow Kermit on Social Media!
Kermit is on social media! Follow his Facebook page and Instagram account to keep up with everything he is up to around Lower Moreland.
The LMPD K9 Unit is also accepting donations. Donations will cover the costs of items such as:
•A Vehicle- outfitted with the necessary equipment like a proper K9 cage, remote door opener, heat alarm, and of course lights and sirens!
•Leashes, tracking leads, and harnesses
•Schools and Certifications
•A kennel for home
•And of course plenty of food and treats!
Cash or checks may be made out to Lower Moreland Township Police Attn: K9 Initiative and mailed or dropped off to our address 640 Red Lion Road Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006.
Please consider sharing this post as well to get the word out! We thank everyone for their ongoing support! Stay tuned for fundraising events with K9 Kermit!