ADA — Ada Police Officer Matt Purdy and his K9 partner, Jaeger, visited third graders at Ada elementary this week. Teachers invited them to come and talk to students to go along with real life stories they are reading in class. Jaeger has been working for the Ada Police Department for five months and has assisted in getting 207 hits of heroin off the streets. He is trained to alert officers to the presence of drugs as well as tracking and apprehension of suspects who flee the scene. Students were impressed to learn that the K9 “speaks” German. Nein ­— pronounced like the number nine — means no, and Officer Purdy laughed saying Jaeger hears it often.

While Officer Purdy made it clear he trusts Jaeger and is very proud of all that he has accomplished, he said it is important to remember he is still a puppy. At only two years old, Jaeger has a lot of energy and has to be kept exercised and entertained. The team just got back from training in MI. Officer Purdy explained to students what a bite sleeve was used for during training. When the students were allowed to ask questions they were ready. They learned the Jaeger can run approximately 40 mph and jump eight feet high.

His training began at only six weeks old. It is estimated that a working dog like Jaeger will put in 10 years before retiring as long as he isn’t injured in the line of duty.

Students were amazed to hear that Jaeger can actually retrieve suspects in water, but that he doesn’t have a lift vest. Police dogs are expensive and require a lot of training and care, but they are able to do things officer’s often can’t.

Officer Purdy said the number one most important thing between a K9 and his handler is trust. The dog has to trust the officer and the officer has to do the same. It was clear that a friendship has formed between the two officers that goes beyond the call of duty.

“He trusts me fully,” Purdy said. “I wouldn’t send him into a situation that I wouldn’t go into myself.”