SEPTA canines to graduate, will join police force

Ronnie trains with the Cheltenham Police K-9 Unit. Credit: John Donges/PENN VET
Ronnie trains with the Cheltenham Police K-9 Unit. Credit: John Donges/PENN VET

Two canines will graduate from the Penn Vet Working Dog Center on Wednesday morning and move onto explosives class training before joining the police force for SEPTA.

Ronnie, a German shepherd, and Kaiserin, a Dutch shepherd, underwent Penn’s five-day-a-week training course to prepare for their new roles. During the graduate ceremony, they will be joined by their partners, Officer Javier Class and Officer Cory Fox.

Both Ronnie and Kaiserin, known as Kai, have been trained in explosives detection.

“They will also receive some training in patrol work. It will be great to have them in the field at SEPTA,” said Ashley Berke from Penn Vet.

Kai trains with the Cheltenham Police K-9 Unit. Credit: John Donges/PENN VET
Kai trains with the Cheltenham Police K-9 Unit. Credit: John Donges/PENN VET

“They start when they are eight weeks old at the center,” Berke added. “It’s earlier than a lot of training centers so we really get their foundations started when they are young.”

Once the two dogs are finished all their training, they will be part of SEPTA’s special operations response team working on explosives, said Heather Redfern, SEPTA spokeswoman.

In September, the Penn Vet Working Dog Center turned one year old. Trainers there work with dogs, teaching them to sniff out bombs, explosive devices and even cancer.  The center is funded entirely through donations. There are presently 15 dogs in the program and Ronnie and Kai are the second and third to graduate. Other canines are being trained in diabetic alert and ovarian cancer detection among other areas.

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