In exchange for donating $18,000 to buy a new police dog, the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department gave an automotive testing firm near Bethel Village canine naming rights.

When employees of Real World Testing, LLC were asked to make suggestions, one worker reminded his bosses their firm does test a lot of diesel engines, Real World operation manager April Gray said.

And that’s how Diesel, a 17-month-old German shepherd who officially received his K-9 badge during last week’s Bartholomew County commissioners meeting, got his name.

But while Real World got to pick the name, the actual badge presentation was reserved for Dylan Prather, an emergency dispatcher and IUPUC student who is credited with securing the donation.

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It was the second time that Prather, 20, has successfully raised thousands of dollars for police dogs. In 2013, when he was a Columbus North senior, Prather secured funding to purchase a new police dog for the Columbus Police Department.

Having spent quite a bit of time with police dogs in recent years, Prather knew better than to try to pin the badge on the fur. Instead, he just handed over the shield to deputy Matt Bush, who was chosen from five other applicants to be Diesel’s partner and handler. Diesel was born in Poland and imported to the United States shortly after Real World made its contribution in July, Bush said.

“All the commands I give him are in Dutch,” Bush told the commissioners.

That’s a plus for law enforcement, because the dog won’t obey any commands spoken in English by the bad guys, the deputy said.

In October, Bush and Diesel completed a six-week training program in North Carolina, where the canine was judged best among the eight dogs in the class for narcotics tracking, Bush said.

Although the dog was not officially placed on duty until after the presentation, Diesel has already assisted in 15 drug arrests over the past two months, Bush said.

What K9 officers do

The role of a K9 officer is tracking narcotics, tracking and apprehending criminal suspects, hunting down evidence, finding missing persons and protecting their human handlers.

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Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5636.