Pubdate: Wed, 12 Mar 2003
Source: Massachusetts Daily Collegian (MA Edu)
Copyright: 2003 Daily Collegian
Contact: 413-545-1592
Note: Publication of University of Massachusetts
Author: Kelly Farrell


Officer Mark Shlosser and his new canine partner, Max, met with University 
of Massachusetts students for the first time last night in Southwest's 
Washington Tower.

Shlosser and Max were invited by resident assistants to meet students at 
several residence halls around campus, beginning with Washington. Shlosser 
and Max have agreed to visit with other dorms that requested an opportunity 
to get acquainted with Max and ask questions about how the canine officer 
will affect students who live on campus.

Jessica Appold, an R.A. on the 22nd floor of Washington Tower said she 
begged for Officer Schlosser and Canine Officer Max to visit with residents 
of her dorm.

"Some people are mad at me because they don't want the dog in the building, 
but it's a chance for people who are worried about it [having a canine 
officer on campus] to ask questions and to learn more about Max," Appold said.

Students' curiosity and concerns began last December when the University 
announced a crackdown on crime that includes 10 new police cadets, a 
satellite police station, and Max - a drug-sniffing dog. The decision to 
expand the police department was made by a committee on campus safety, 
which was appointed by UMass Chancellor John Lombardi last November. The 
total cost of the expansion is approximately $150,000, but Max is just a 
very small part of that cost, Police Chief O'Connor said.

Chair of Administrative Affairs Chris Eckel told The Collegian in December 
that the Student Government Association was concerned for students' civil 

"The police have never had the ability to just walk in the dorms and go by 
your rooms, and this gives them the option to do this," Eckel said.

In response to the addition of the dog, a member of the SGA said that 
regardless of how the dog is used, the SGA is confident that police have 
the students' best interest in mind.

O'Connor said that Max would not be used for random searches in residence 
halls. She said she would supply the SGA with a written document confirming 
that Max would not be used for this purpose.

"We can't do random searches at all," O'Connor said. "It's not even legal. 
I have that in writing for the SGA, and I better get that to them soon. Our 
job is to protect the students, and Max is a tool to aid in that mission."

On the job, Max will often be patrolling campus in a police car from 7 p.m. 
to 3 a.m. with Shlosser. The two will not likely be on duty until the snow 
clears because dogs can't track scents well in the snow. The two will 
continue training at the New England Canine Academy in East Hartford, 
Conn., until spring, he said.

In response to a question regarding whether Max was a response to the large 
marijuana bust in Kennedy Hall last fall, O'Connor said that "Max is a 
direct response to the armed robberies and assault we had last September."

"I thought the dog was just for drugs, but he can help with crimes like 
people breaking into our room," said Courtney Cormier, a sophomore resident 
of Washington Tower.

"Max is here to help solve crimes as well as help in prevention," O'Connor 
said. "The appearance of a dog on campus has a tendency to lower crime rates."

Shlosser said that Max's main roles on campus would be to "protect him 
[Schlosser], track scents, and search areas and articles of suspects." Max 
will not search anyone or anywhere without probable cause and/or a search 
warrant, he said.

After Shlosser and O'Connor explained what Max's role would be on the job, 
several students began asking more light-hearted questions about Max, such 
as whether Shlosser would keep him as a pet when he was done working. 
Shlosser said without hesitation that he would definitely keep Max after he 

But Max, a Belgian malinois and Dutch shepherd mix, is far from retirement. 
He is 23 months old with another couple weeks of training left before he 
begins patrolling the campus.

"If I take out this tennis ball," Shlosser said as he grabbed the bright 
green ball from his pocket. "You'll see a lot of puppy in him."

One of approximately 55 of the students who were present asked if Max could 
do any tricks. Shlosser held out his hand for Max's paw and gave it a 
shake. "That's the extent of his parlor tricks," he said. "And I didn't 
even teach him that."

Several students admitted Max was "cute," but had mixed feelings about his 

For anyone interested in meeting Max, he is also tentatively scheduled to 
be at a table in the Campus Center after Spring Break. The table will 
include information about Max as well as the other increased security and 
law enforcement measures that have been implemented this semester.

"Once people meet Max, they'll get to know him, and like him, and realize 
he's an asset more than a detriment," O'Connor said.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom