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The push for another K9 competition in DL

The National K9 competition in Detroit Lakes last month went so well, volunteers for the event are pushing for the city to host another one in 2014.

"When I first heard about it, I thought they were joking," said Detroit Lakes Police Chief Tim Eggebraaten, "but apparently they weren't."

Eggebraaten and K9 handler Sgt. Robert Strand 'took the lead' in throwing the massive, weeklong event together, and they say they might need some time to think about it.

"We might need to let this one wear off first," said Strand, who added that in order for it to even be a possibility, Chief Eggebraaten would have to sign off on it first, then the regional board, then they'd have to pitch it to the national board again.

"And there's always a good chance they won't give it to you," said Strand.

Both officers say the event as whole went really well, with no major snags, but hosting the event took a year and a half to plan and an incredible number of man-hours.

"Our officers had to pick up the slack while we were doing things for this, and we're an officer short anyway," said Eggebraaten, "but we'll see."

In an effort to help things run smoothly during the competition, Strand was up in the wee-hours of the morning and to bed late at night, all the while doing his best to earn his K9 partner, Macho, accolades.

However, Strand says things didn't pan out the way they wanted in that department.

"Well, we were there," he smiled when asked how they did in the competition, "Our first two days weren't bad, but our last days weren't what you'd call competition material."

Strand says Macho failed to 'come off the bite' during apprehension when called back.

"Which, chances are, when you're on the street you physically remove your dog anyway," said Strand, "that's the way they're trained, so I guess he thought he was on the street."

Strand says Macho also got 'hot boxed' for the first time.

"That means he indicated the box where the man was previously but wasn't anymore," said Strand, "So we were on a roll," he smiled.

(Matt Holten and his K9 Ghost out of the Austin, Minn., Police Department received first place).

The officers are quick to defend the city's only K9, though.

"This competition is strictly for trophies and accolades," said Eggebraaten, "We already went through the certification thing, and it's an honor just for Macho to make it to the national competition."

Strand added that if Macho wasn't 'finding guys on the streets' anymore, he'd be worried, but in fact, he just apprehended a burglar in Detroit Lakes this week.

"He hit that odor and took off down that fence line, jumping wood piles and the fence," said Strand proudly, "So we're good."

During the national competition, a few other K9's were able to lend a helping paw.

"There was guy who had a firearm and a felony warrant out for him who took off," said Strand, "So I called some guys I knew out and so we had four dogs on County Road 21 looking for him."

It turns out, the felon got away that day, but was later captured.

The incident was just one more thing that brought Detroit Lakes officers closer to their comrades throughout the state and the country.

"We made some really good friends from all over during the competition," said Eggebraaten, "It was just a really awesome thing, and I'm so proud of how everybody in the community stepped up and impressed the judges and competitors who came into the city for this."

Strand added that they got a lot of positive feedback on the people of Detroit Lakes.

"The competitors were telling me how impressed they were by the number of people in town who knew why they were there and the friendliness of everybody," said Strand.

Putting on the event means a little extra jingle in the pockets of the Detroit Lakes K9 fund, too, as the extra money generated from the event will be split between the national committee and the Detroit Lakes Police Department.

But for Eggebraaten, it's less about the money raised than it is about the impact it had on local people.

"I wonder how many little boys and girls went to the public demonstration and now want to be an officer and have a dog?" said Eggebraaten, "It's those things that fuel me, not the $4,000 or whatever it will be that we get from it."

The officers say they could not have put the event on without the number of civilian volunteers and their long days of work, but prefer to let the affects of this competition wear off before dipping into another one.

"Pound for pound, I think we packed a really good punch and put on a great show," said Eggebraaten, "and I'm just really proud of everybody for making it awesome."