Rotary donates to Corson County drug detection team

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By Peg Wunder

Corson County Deputy Mike Varilek and his new partner, Taz, are in the first stages of training for Taz to become a a drug detection dog. Varilek and Taz will cover the northwest corner of the state.

Corson County Deputy Mike Varilek and his new partner, Taz, are in the first stages of training for Taz to become a a drug detection dog. Varilek and Taz will cover the northwest corner of the state.

Walworth County Deputy Shawn Fox, Corson County Deputy Mike Varilek, and K9 Officer  (in training) Taz visited Rotary on Monday, March 18, to talk about the drug dog program at the Corson County Sheriff’s Office.
Taz is only 17 months old and is still in training, but will be Mike’s partner as the drug dog for the area. He will do apprehension and drug work. Taz will not be pawing and scratching to get to the drugs he sniffs. He will be a passive drug dog, which means that when he detects the smell of a number of drugs, he will sit and wait for his partner, Mike, to take over. He is the only drug dog in the area that covers the area from Montana to Aberdeen and from Pierre to Bismarck.
Taz is in the initial phase of his training. For a couple of weeks he and Mike will bond and get to know each other. Taz is presently playing fetch using a drug-scented device and returning it to Mike. The next stage, where he is trained that when he smells the drugs, he must learn to sit and wait for Mike. He will then be trained to search for the drugs. A passive-trained dog can work his entire life as a drug dog. Taz will continue his training in Omaha for about seven weeks.
Taz is completely paid for, but there is currently a fund drive to provide food for him, money to cover veterinarian fees and any other costs that should come about. Donations can be sent to the Corson County Sheriff’s Office, Corson County Canine Fund. A motion to give $l00 to the fund passed unanimously.
Mike talked a little about stopping cars and questioning people. He said that sometimes the answers do not make sense, which creates suspicion and many times vehicles are stopped because a headlight or taillight is out or the driver is exceeding the speed limit. Having a drug dog circumvents a search warrant so police will hold a person and their vehicle until Mike and Taz can get there to do a search.
Chairman Harley Overseth reminded everyone that the Foundation tickets are due next Monday. Anyone who has not yet turned in their tickets should get them to Harley by Monday.
Mark Dady and Cindy Volk have reviewed the applicants for the Rotary Scholarship. Bill Zacher volunteered to be the third person to also review the applicants. The recipient of the Rotary Scholarship will be announced at the awards ceremony on May 8.
There was brief discussion of the Tiger Relays that will be held in April. Herb McClellan has a list of the sponsors, who all need to be contacted. Sharon Martin, Tom Collignon and Overseth are in charge of the track meet.
The drawing for the March Madness was held with 118 people buying a chance to be included.
Linda Meyer was not present to claim the 50/50 pot. Howard Harrison will be in charge of the program next meeting when Rotary meets on Monday at noon at the Moose Lodge.

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