by JOE HARAKAL
Marysville Division of Police decided to start a canine unit with officer Dave Nist, a Tiffin University graduate, as the canine handler.
Nist, a former football player at TU, graduated in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. Upon finishing college, he started his career at Marysville Division of Police, and after one year on the force, was asked to start up their canine unit. This was made possible due to donations from Honda Manufacturing and various other donors, he said.
“I have wanted to be a canine handler since college,” said Nist, as he reflected on an occurrence that happened at one of his football practices.
Nist said during one of his practices, a local canine handler stopped by and asked if someone wanted to get into the bite suit.
“I offered to go in the suit right away,” said Nist.
A bite suit is a specifically designed suit to withstand the power and force of a police and military dog bite. This suit is utilized in training for real life scenarios, without causing any injuries to the operator or canine.
Nist got into the suit and the canine officer suggested that he could not run to the endzone before the dog caught him. He took the officers bet and won. His prize, an attack on the arm from the police dog.
“I remember making it to the endzone and turning around to see the dog running at me and biting the sleeve,” said Nist. “I thought it was so cool and I wanted to be a canine officer from that moment on.”
Nist has been working for the police department for 22 years now and has been the canine officer for 21 of them. Since the start of the canine unit, he has had three dogs. His dogs include Indi, who worked from 1998-2006, Khan from 2006-2013 and the current dog, Bear, according to the City of Marysville website.
Nist said that Indi was imported from Holland and Khan was from Slovakia. Both dogs are Belgium Malinois and were dual trained for narcotic’s and criminal apprehension, he said.
The current dog, Bear, was born in America and has parents that are also police dogs, he said. Nist’s faithful companion Bear was a year and a half old when he hit the streets as a police dog. He said he trained Bear, whose focus is on narcotics.
“I got Bear when he was a 7-week-old puppy and started training him early on,” said Nist.
During the training of Bear, Nist worked along side Master Trainer Jeff Moody, who was also training other police forces dogs at the time.
“While training Bear and the other dogs, I earned my master training certification,” stated Nist.
Besides becoming a master trainer, Nist has had the opportunity at a higher-ranking position in the police force and had passed them up.
“I have been offered multiple different positions, but I always deny them,” said Nist. “I love working with the dogs and wouldn’t give that up.”