Brutus and K-9 Officer Jonathan Maingot are helping to keep the community safe.
| 1:23 p.m. January 25, 2018
Winter Park - Maitland Observer
On a dark, brisk night in Winter Park, officer Jonathan Maingot and his trusty police dog, Brutus, were out on a routine patrol.
Then, a call came in regarding a vehicle break-in.
The duo made the drive out to the scene and proceeded to track down the suspect.
Suddenly, Brutus caught a specific scent — he had the suspect picked out.
“We train for doing tracking and searches, so I know how to read him,” Maingot said. “Just based on the fact of the circumstances of the night, we went down that one street there, and as I’m taking him down the street, he indicated to me that someone was behind the wall.”
Just like that, Maingot and Brutus were able to catch the suspect and bring him in during one of the duo’s most recent crime-stopping adventures Jan. 10.
Maingot, who will be celebrating 10 years on the force with the Winter Park Police Department in April, stepped into the K-9 role five years ago when the position opened up.
For Maingot, it was a bit of a dream come true.
“I’ve always been around animals,” Maingot said. “In high school, I worked at a kennel and at college — when I was going to UCF — I worked at a veterinary clinic, so I’ve always liked animals and dogs.”
In his new role, Maingot met Brutus, a Belgian Malinois that had been brought in from the Netherlands to train as a police dog, at the FDLE K-9 Patrol School.
There, the two trained for several months — learning how to work together and become a cohesive unit. Maingot also developed his ability to understand Brutus through cues and body language.
Although they finished the program and passed state certification five years ago, Maingot and Brutus, who is now 6 years old, continue to train as K-9 officers and police dogs are required to be re-evaluated and re-certified each year.
“Anytime there is an opportunity to do training, we do it,” Maingot said. “It’s similar stuff we do for certification — a lot of the time we do tracking, area searches, and building searches.
“He is a narcotics detection dog as well, so he is what they call dual-purpose (a dog that does bomb and narcotics detection),” he said. “So we’ll do narcotics training when we train — we do different scenario based training, and try to replicate different things we see on the street.”
While Brutus has been trained to respond to commands in both English and Dutch, most of his commands are in German — something Maingot had to learn during his time at the patrol school.
Since their early days together Maingot and Brutus have become quite the team, which extends beyond their duties of patrolling Winter Park during their late-night schedule.
Their service in helping keep the community safe also hasn’t gone unnoticed by those at the department — especially those who work closest to the duo.
“Officer Maingot and Brutus — they’re huge assets to the agency and the agency certainly couldn’t be more thankful to have them both,” said Lt. Errol Colon, who serves as Maingot’s watch commander. “As senior officer here, he’s extremely professional and he is a great K-9 officer.”
Another characteristic that makes Brutus such a wonderful asset to the community is he has a great ability to easily switch off the serious mode when he’s not patrolling, which makes him an ideal dog for being around other people,” Maingot said.
When WPPD participates in community events, you can often times find Brutus chilling out, while kids “ooh” and “ahh” at him. And when he’s done with all of his work for the day, Brutus goes home with Maingot for some family time — which Brutus enjoys, though he also enjoys being out in the field.
“He’s very tolerant, so he gets along very well with the family,” he said. “I don’t really have any concerns with him because I trust him and I know he’s very good. When he’s at home, he just relaxes and chills — but then again they get stir crazy too … they (police dogs) love working.”