Officer Jimmy tends to play around on the job, but, then again, that is his job.
Jimmy is a Belgian Malinois, the canine for the Grenada Police Department, and play for him means seeking out his toy, which might be drugs or fleeing criminals.
“Jimmy just loves to play. He loves to hunt. He’s high strung, and in many ways he’s just like a kid,” said Officer Jeff Wilson, speaking of his two and a half-year-old partner. “Well, maybe Jimmy minds a little better than most kids,” said Wilson, laughing.
As Wilson described it, work is essentially a game for Jimmy. Some object or person needs to be found, and it’s his job to seek it out.
“Jimmy is very methodical and highly energetic when he’s in pursuit of something,” said Wilson. “He’s really tenacious.”
To train Jimmy and get him going, Wilson uses a tennis ball. When the ball appears, Jimmy’s ears perk up and his eyes take on an eager, almost joyful glaze.
Jimmy hunkers down, like a tiger ready to spring into action. Then, if Wilson allows him to do so, Jimmy leaps up to get at the ball. If Jimmy gets overeager, or tries to dominate Wilson, one stern word from the master sends the dog into a submissive position.
When Wilson throws the ball, Jimmy runs it down, and, sliding, takes it into his mouth like a cheetah brining down a gazelle on the Serengeti.
Jimmy then brings the ball back – almost. He likes to try to keep the ball away from Wilson for a beat or two to make him steal it.