Meet Mick, DPD's newest K9 Officer

DECATUR, Ill. (WAND): A new Decatur Police Department K-9 has some big paw prints to fill.

"His name is Mick, he's a 15-month-old Dutch shepherd," Robert Baker, a Decatur Police Department K-9 Handler, says.

Mick is the newest pup on the force.

"He's got all the intangibles of a good police dog so we've got high hopes for him," Baker says.

And Robert would know. This is his second police dog, following K-9 Koy's retirement.

"You've got to have drive, that's the first thing," Baker says. "If the dog doesn't have drive to work and get a reward then he's never going to work out for you."

Mick is no stranger to hard work. His dad was a police dog for DPD as well.

"I think there's a lot to say about pedigree and lineage, he's got the right genetics, the drive, everything's there," Baker says. "So I don't see how he could fail, I'm pretty confident with this dog."

And it's a good thing, too, because the relationship between a police dog and his handler isn't one to be taken lightly.

"We spend more time with these dogs than often times our families so it's a pretty unique relationship," Baker says.

Despite his ferocious bark, it's clear Mick and Baker have bonded. Baker says the K-9's are indispensable to the city. Just this weekend K-9 Rex found a missing adult with dementia.

"These dogs do more than people would ever know," Baker says. "Whether it's finding evidence, finding drugs, or just finding people who are lost or maybe confused and need some help."

Mick graduated from the K-9 Academy at the end of last month. Decatur Police say he's already credited with finding large amounts of illegal drugs in the area, all in his first month of work.