“Macaroni. Pizza. Chair. Zit.”
One of the most well-known members of the Amherst Police Department quietly stood in the community room on a Thursday evening with officer Matthew Frydryk. He didn’t move until hearing that fourth word spoken in Dutch. When prompted in this language, he would run around, jump and play like any other dog.
Marvin, a German shepherd Belgian Malinois mix, was born in Hungary before coming to the United States in 2017. Since then, officer Frydryk has been working alongside him to serve the Amherst community.
Both Marvin and Dash, the other German shepherd, are dual-purpose dogs and make up the Amherst K9 Unit. For their first few months in the Unit, they focused primarily on patrol work –tracking people, building searches, area searches, article searches, evidence recovery and handler protection.
The two are also narcotics dogs that can find heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and anything that smells similar, including ecstasy.
Capt. Ronald Young said the dogs have similar duties but having two of them “allows us to have a K9 officer on duty over multiple shifts, multiple times per day,” in a MassLive article.
Through grants from the Stanton Foundation, the Amherst Police Department was able to create the K9 Unit in September 2014. With the help of the K9 Establishment Grant for $25,000, APD purchased Dash, originally from the Netherlands, from Shallow Creek Kennels in Pennsylvania. On top of buying the dog, the grant allowed the station to outfit a cruiser with a kennel and get a kennel for officer Thomas Clark’s house and training.
Three years later, APD applied again for a Stanton Foundation grant through their second dog program, where officer Frydryk was able to adopt Marvin.