German Shepherd – Lab Mix “Boomer” Goes from Shelter Dog to Police K9

Boomer, a German Shepherd and lab mix, is a very lucky dog, but it was not that long ago that his luck was not that good. You see Boomer, named Becker then, was at the Parsippany Animal Shelter in Morris County, New Jersey. He had already been adopted twice by people who chose to return him to the shelter because of his boundless energy. It would appear that he just could not help himself as it was extremely hard to keep all that energy locked inside of him.

Boomer Spotted at Shelter

Then, Morris County Sheriff Detective Corporal Mike McMahon went to the shelter in search of a bearded dragon for his son. Parsippany Animal Control Officer Kaitlin Kopshaw decided that Boomer would make a fantastic police dog and approached the corporal with her idea.

German Shepherd Lab mix Boomer

The shelter posted on their Facebook page this picture of Boomer above along with this text below:

The Parsippany Animal Shelter is happy to work in accordance with the Morris County Sheriff’s Department. Mayor James Barberio is very thankful to the K-9 Unit for adopting Becker from our animal shelter, now known as Boomer, and giving him an important job within their task force. We know Boomer will far exceed our expectations and we are anxiously awaiting all that he will accomplish!

Boomer Enters Training

Before long, Boomer was adopted and began his training to sniff out explosives. While the Morris County Sheriff’s Department wanted a new dog, the $5,000 to $6,000 was just not in their budgets. On September 18, 2018, Boomer passed his initial tests. Then, the officers worked with Boomer over the course of 14 weeks to teach him to sniff out explosives.

Training for Explosive Dogs

The training of canines to do this type of work is very time-consuming. The dog must be taught to recognize each smell and its source. Once the dog does that, he is then rewarded. In the case of Boomer, his reward is chewing on an old red ball for a few minutes. Then, the process begins again.

Boomer’s Training

In all, the officers have taught Boomer to recognize 21 different odors that might be part of an explosive. Once he smells one, then he finds its source and sits down nearby with his ball while the officer investigates the find.

Officer #K9 229 Reporting for Duty

On October 3, 2018, Boomer officially joined the Morris County Sheriff’s Office as #K9 229. He currently lives with an officer who will be retiring soon, so he will soon be moved to a new home so that he can continue protecting the community.

Shelter Dog to Highly Trained Police Dog

A public ceremony was held to give Boomer a certificate for his accomplishments of going from shelter dog to a highly trained member of the police department. Boomer’s skills were also put on display as he found explosives in a backpack and in a car trunk while being given his red ball to play with as a reward.

First Call

The next day, Boomer went on his first call. He investigated an old abandoned building, but no explosives were found in that case. It is expected that the dog will continue going on many calls every month.


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