Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office’s new K-9 is adjusting to life on the force.
Checque, one of two K-9’s at the department, arrived the first week of September, but didn’t start work until Nov. 27.
Checque is a 1-year-old Belgian Malinois from the Netherlands, and is the second K-9 handled by Deputy Amanda Illuzzi.
Illuzzi’s first K-9, Jazz, worked with her for eight years before retiring in September.
Checque is a dual-purpose dog, which means he’s certified in narcotics to find heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, and is also patrol certified.
“That consists of defending the handler, locating people, tracking, evidence recovery and apprehending people if need be,” she said.
Illuzzi said one of Checque’s strengths is hunting.
“Whether it’s people or narcotics, his hunt drive is incredible,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to putting his intensity of hunting to work.
“When he’s not working, he loves to just chew on a KONG ball, like a normal dog.”
Though it took a bit of work, Illuzzi said she and Checque have connected on all levels.
“At first he was very unsure of me, and I was unsure of him, just figuring out what his little quirks were was hard,” she said. “We’re starting to see eye-to-eye.”
Illuzzi said it was difficult going from one K-9 after eight years to a brand new partner.
“It was hard not resorting back to how I handled Jazz,” she said.
“There’s things you do that are similar, but things that worked with her don’t necessarily work with him, and things that work with him would never work with her.”
Along with Jazz, Checque is living with Illuzzi at home.
After nine years on the K-9 unit, Illuzzi said she’s looking forward to working with Checque and interacting with the community.
“I’m looking forward to keeping drugs off the streets, helping search for bad guys and really looking to start doing public relations events,” she said. “Even if it’s for kids or adults, it helps the community see how valuable these dogs are, and helps them see all they’re capable of doing.
“Starting with something new, like anything else, is really exciting.”