James Rada, Jr.
Watching Majo jump around, waiting for Tim Duhan to throw a lacrosse ball, it’s hard to imagine that the nineteen-month-old German shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix is a trained law enforcement officer. On the job, Majo is all business, as he tests the air for the scent of hidden narcotics.
“He’s 100 percent a puppy still, and he’s also ball crazy,” said Duhan, a corporal with the Thurmont Police.
Majo is trained as a narcotics dog and has been on the job since September 2018. He came from the Czech Republic, and the Thurmont Police purchased him from Castle’s K-9 Inc., a company in Pennsylvania that imports and trains police dogs.
The town had a budget of $10,000 to purchase and train Majo, but the bill came out to be $12,600. However, the Humane Society of Frederick County donated $1,600 and Woodsboro Bank donated $1,000 to make up the difference.
“Another couple of agencies wanted to make him (Majo) a dual-purpose dog, but we got him first,” Duhan said.
Some dogs can also be trained as a patrol dog, besides smelling for certain scents. This “bite work” is left to dogs with a temperament for it and a reputation for being tough like German shepherds or Doberman Pinschers.
“The town didn’t want a dog that would bite, though,” Duhan said. “They wanted a social dog, and Majo is very social.”
Majo also does his police work well. So far, he and Duhan have been called out for scans three times, and drugs were found every time.
This comes from Majo’s daily training. Duhan not only exercises him, he trains him through scanning scenarios.
“With a dog like this, he should be doing some sort of drug training every day,” explained Duhan.
Majo takes over the position of canine cop from Buddy, a black Labrador retriever who was medically retired in May. He was running and playing when he injured himself in an accident.
“I’m not sure what happened,” Duhan said. “I saw him running down the yard and turned away for a moment. When I turned back, he was doing a somersault and hit a tree.”
Duhan rushed over to Buddy and discovered that the dog couldn’t get his front legs to work. He rushed him to the veterinarian for care. It was discovered that Buddy had permanent nerve damage to one of his legs, and it had to be amputated.
“He still could have done the job, but the town was unable to get insurance for him,” Duhan said.
Buddy still lives with Duhan, his family, Majo, and Duhan’s large Pyrennes. The dogs get along well, except they fight over toys like children. Duhan will still let Buddy do drug scans because the retriever likes the activity.
“He watches me do it with Majo, so I also let him scan,” Duhan said. “Even after being retired, I could probably certify Buddy now.”
Corporal Tim Duhan stands with Majo, a trained narcotics dog with the Thurmont Police Department.
Photo by James Rada, Jr.