Staff profiles: Adam Atkinson and Wolf
Michigan State University Police Officer Adam Atkinson spends every day with his K-9 partner, Wolf.
"He's with me more than anybody else in my life," Atkinson said.
And he hopes to spend many more days with what he calls "the ultimate law enforcement tool."
"Having the ability to work with [the dogs] is, I think, about the coolest job you can possibly have," he said.
Wolf is trained in aggression and obedience. Twice a month, he and Atkinson train together to test a variety of skills, all while Atkinson shouts commands in German.
This training helps Wolf find explosives and track suspects.
"It can be anything from a suspect that just broke into a house – maybe assaulted somebody, then took off on foot – and your dog can show up and find them," Atkinson said, "to a 3-, 4- or 5-year-old that has run off from their parents and they can't find them anywhere. Our dogs can come in and find them."
Atkinson has been an MSU police officer for four years. When a K-9 position opened up a little over two years ago, he jumped at the opportunity.
He wanted to combine his passion of law enforcement with his love for animals.
"I always in the back of my mind wanted to be a K-9 handler, and luckily enough, I came to a department where we have a lot of specialty units," Atkinson said.
"If you love being a cop and love animals, you can combine the two, and it's kind of like the ultimate dream job for me."