Two Southeast Minnesota detection dogs compete on ESPN2

The dogs were two of 20 teams nationwide to be selected
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 10:32 PM CST
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(KTTC) – Detective Derek Ellis and his Belgian Malinois, Rudy, have been together for seven years.

“There were a lot of teams from around the United States, so it was nice to represent Minnesota,” said Ellis.

Their work in the Austin Police Department was put to the test last week, in the first-ever American Kennel Club and US Police Canine Association detection dog show.

“They were looking for some of the best dogs and detection work to kind of showcase and represent the USPCA and Canine handlers,” said Ellis.

In representing Southeast Minnesota, Rudy wasn’t alone.

RPD’s Sarge was yet another competitor.

“He’s my partner, but he’s also family. There’s no way around it,” said RPD Officer Brian Roussell, Sarge’s owner.

A six-year-old British lab, Sarge has had quite a few unique experiences while helping keep the Med City safe.

“We’ve worked the Super Bowl, we’ve worked the Final Four when it was here in Minnesota,” said Roussell. “We’ve had presidential, not only our president, vice president, have come, but you know, senators, presidents from other nations. We’ve had royalty come from the Middle East and we’ve been involved in all that.”

There were two divisions in the competition:

“10 canine teams were narcotics detection, which Rudy and I are,” said Ellis.

Sarge was one of ten in the explosives division.

“We were the only ones from the Midwest for explosives,” said Roussell. “There was a lot of good other dog teams out there from the East Coast and the South. You had, New York was there, Florida, Georgia.”

They can’t tell you who won yet, but the officers shared their thoughts on being a part of the competition.

“It’ll have a room search with the dogs detecting narcotics, other dogs might be detecting explosives. And it will also have a car part to it, showing what the canines do, how we certify,” said Ellis.

“Sarge was right up there with them, just goes to show that I’m confident if we ever get a callout, if something’s there, we’re gonna find it,” said Roussell.

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