Local K-9 unit featured on billboardWORTHINGTON — People travelling through Lake Crystal on Minnesota 60 may be surprised to see familiar faces smiling out at them from a billboard — Nobles County Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Roemeling and his K-9 partner Chase.
WORTHINGTON — People travelling through Lake Crystal on Minnesota 60 may be surprised to see familiar faces smiling out at them from a billboard — Nobles County Sheriff’s Deputy Dustin Roemeling and his K-9 partner Chase.
“My career started with the Law Enforcement Program,” the billboard states, touting Minnesota West Community and Technical College. “Learn with purpose.”
Roemeling graduated from the Minnesota West Law Enforcement Program in 2008, and believes he made a great decision when it came to choosing a school.
“It is an excellent program, and Mark Holden was always there to help me out,” Roemeling said of the law enforcement coordinator.
When Holden contacted him with a request, Roemeling was glad to return the favor.
“I thought it would be good for the department, the K-9 unit and the program itself,” he said.
Minnesota West Coordinator of Communications, Marketing and Advertising Amber Luinenburg thought Roemeling would be a perfect candidate to be on a billboard.
“We’re making some changes to the law enforcement program, adding the skills program, and we wanted to start promoting the program a little heavier,” she explained. “We also asked Jeff Markquart, who is from Worthington and is now the sheriff in Martin County, to be on one.”
The billboard featuring the Nobles County K-9 Unit could be up as soon as this week, but for sure by the end of the month, Luinenburg said.
Roemeling, who grew up in Edgerton, was a member of the Worthington Police Reserves during the two years he attended Minnesota West.
After graduating from the law enforcement program, he worked in Rochester as a part-time community service officer, handling non-emergency calls for the city.
Three months later, he received an offer from the Worthington Police Department, and a year and a half later, made the move to the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office.
In February 2010, he was partnered with Chase in the K-9 program — an interesting challenge, since Chase was the veteran of the team. Roemeling stepped into the position when another deputy, Chase’s former handler, left the department.
When it came to their first field trials a few months later, Roemeling admitted he was probably much more nervous than Chase, but the two did well as a team.
So well, that when they went to the campus for the photo shoot, it was over in about three minutes.
Luinenburg took the photo used for the billboard, and admitted she was leery of doing so.
“I was worried about trying to take a photo with a dog, but Chase was amazing,” she said with a laugh. “I snapped my fingers and he looked up. It was fun.”
It was the beep that did it, Roemeling said. Every time Luinenburg’s camera beeped, Chase stared at it in curiosity.
Roemeling said he didn’t tell anyone about the billboard until after the picture was taken, other than gaining permission from the sheriff and chief deputy to participate.
He admitted he was a bit hesitant about the idea when Holden first called him, but decided promoting the program that had given him such a good start was important.
“I received good training at Minnesota West, which has really helped me in my career thus far,” he said.
The artwork can potentially be used in other places, Luinenburg said, so Roemeling and Chase might just show up in other areas as well.
“It is nice to feature graduates who have done so well,” she said. “It’s a big deal to us that these guys are willing to represent the college.”