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Lakeland Welcomes Second K9 Team
Feb 3, 2020 Share

(ST. JOSEPH) – Spectrum Health Lakeland has added a second K9 team to the organization. Hiro, a two-year-old male German shepherd from Slovakia, joins handler, Chris Aungst, a retired police officer with the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department. Aungst brings nearly 30 years of law enforcement experience to the Lakeland security team.

Following the selection of Hiro, the K9 team completed a rigorous three-week training in Indiana before starting patrol at Lakeland facilities. In recent years, hospital security departments have involved K9 teams as a cost-effective resource to help diffuse tense situations, detect weapons, and deescalate potentially violent situations.

“I have always had a passion for dogs, so I was fortunate when an opportunity came up to combine that passion with my law enforcement experience,” said Aungst. “I think his name is very appropriate. Hiro will help put patients, visitors, and team members at ease and keep them safe. He brings amazing capabilities and training to the Lakeland community.”

In 2018, the first K9 team was established at Lakeland with officer Bruce Modigell and Inez, a female German shepherd from Hungary. If you should encounter Hiro or Inez at a Lakeland facility, keep in mind they are working dogs, not a pet or therapy animal, and always ask the handler permission first before approaching the dog.

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