Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Team Wins ‘America’s Top Dog’ Episode To Advance To Final Competition

Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and his K-9 partner Kai, brought the national spotlight to the Agency by setting two speed records to advance to the finals of the A&E Network’s “America’s Top Dog.”

Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and his K-9 partner Kai.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and his K-9 partner Kai.

Detective Corporal McMahon, who already was a master dog trainer and handler when he joined the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, won two of three rounds of “America’s Top Dog” in episode 8 as part of #teamkai, and now is a contender for a $25,000 prize and Top Dog title that will occur in the series final episode in mid-March.

The outcome of the series, filmed in Santa Clarita, California, in the summer of 2019, is known but America’s Top Dog won’t be revealed publicly until the final competition.

Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and Kai.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and Kai.

Episode 8 aired Wednesday, February 26, and the Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Law Enforcement P.B.A. 151 was so rooting for #teamkai that it hosted a private viewing for more than 150 fellow Officers, friends and family of Detective Corporal McMahon at the Iron Bar in Morristown.

There, viewers cheered, screamed and applauded every time Detective Corporal McMahon and Kai appeared on screen. The cheering was deafening by show’s end, when the team was escorted into a winner’s circle by series Sideline Reporter Jamie Little.

Detective Corporal McMahon thanked the crowd at the Iron Bar for supporting him and wearing #teamkai T-shirts, and attributed his success to colleagues in the K-9 Section.

“I wouldn’t be here without them,” he said. His bond with Kai, he said, stems from raising him since he was a puppy and essentially being the center of the universe for Kai, the son of Detective Corporal McMahon’s previous patrol dog, Ronan.

In episode 8, #teamkai first bested four other K-9 teams in Round One by setting the fastest time of 1:32.42 to run an intricate obstacle course that involved darting through the interiors of patrol cars, navigating a specially-constructed “fire escape,” leaping over walls, and swimming across a pool.

Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon, wearing hat, with Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and friends and co-workers to celebrate his appearance on America's Top Dog.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon, wearing hat, with Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon and friends and co-workers to celebrate his appearance on America’s Top Dog.

In Round Two, #teamkai’s odor-detecting skills were tested as they searched a makeshift “house” for five items – including a duffle bag, shampoo bottle and water bottle – that were dabbed with a particular scent.

By Round Three, the only K-9 teams remaining were #teamkai and #teamhunter, comprised of Red Bank, New Jersey, Police Officer Stan Balmer and his Belgian Malinois partner, Hunter.

Striving to beat #teamhunter’s time of 2:46.13 navigating the physically-strenuous “Doghouse” obstacle course in Round Three, Detective Corporal McMahon and Kai sped seamlessly through ductwork, a tangled spider web, and up and down stairs before Kai heeded the command to apprehend a “suspect” protected by a bite suit.

Their time in the Doghouse: 1:02.46 to #teamhunter’s time of 2:46.13.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon was jubilant and thanked Detective Corporal McMahon, the K-9 Section and all other Officers in the Agency for their skills and professionalism.

“This is historic for the Morris County Sheriff’s Office that has been around since 1739. Very significant. Here we have Corporal McMahon and Kai but the entire K-9 Unit is second to none,” Sheriff Gannon said.

“America’s Top Dog is a very entertaining series but it also illuminates how natural and strong the law enforcement partnerships with canines can be, particularly when the dogs are as highly-trained, obedient and sensitive to their handlers as Kai is,” Sheriff Gannon said.

 

 

Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section Detective Corporal Michael McMahon Competes with Partner Kai On “America’s Top Dog” Series

When he was a child, Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon’s mother set down a firm rule: If he wanted a dog, he had to train it.

In an image supplied by the A&E Network, Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and his K-9 partner are contestants on "America's Top Dog."
In an image supplied by the A&E Network, Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and his K-9 partner are contestants on “America’s Top Dog.”

By second grade, he had his first dog enrolled in obedience school. As he grew up in Long Valley, he went on to train all other household canines, those owned by other family members, and then pets owned by neighbors.

A few decades later, Detective Corporal McMahon has not only amassed dozens of trophies earned in the competitive dog sport arena but is a contestant on the popular A&E Network’s ultimate K-9 competition series, “America’s Top Dog,” brought to the screen by MGM’s Big Fish Entertainment.

A dog handler and trainer for the Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section, Detective Corporal McMahon and his K-9 partner, a Belgian Malinois named Kaiser, or Kai for short, will debut their speed, dexterity and scent-detection skills on the 8th episode of “America’s Top Dog.”

The show, a spin-off of A&E’s “Live PD,” will air Wednesday, February 26, at 9 p.m. At the episode’s end, viewers will know whether Team Kai — #teamkai – will be in the finale in mid-March for the title of America’s Top Dog.  Team Kai’s episode is dubbed “The Battle of the Garden State.”

Show highlights so far, have included the spunky performance on Episode 4 of a civilian, 31-pound Shorty Bull named Minion, who knocked down a 130-pound wall, dashed through duct work and up a staircase of boxes before nabbing in the groin a “perpetrator,” who thankfully was wearing a bite-suit.

Morris County Sheriff's Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and his K-9 partner Kai will appear Wednesday, February 26, on A&E's "America's Top Dog" show.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and his K-9 partner Kai will appear Wednesday, February 26, on A&E’s “America’s Top Dog” show.

Team Kai is one of 50 K-9 teams – both civilian and law enforcement-related – battling for the title and the $25,000 grand prize.  Detective Corporal McMahon’s presence on the show wasn’t even originally his idea.

He had an informal chat at a Protection Sports Association competition with a series casting agent. Then, his wife Michelle, a master dog trainer and handler herself, submitted an application on his behalf in the spring of 2019. He quickly received a call, was interviewed, and invited to be on the show. In June of 2019, Detective Corporal McMahon and his family, including Kai, boarded a flight for Santa Clarita, California, where the series was filmed.

“We were excited. It wasn’t expected because I was asked at the end of casting. Maybe my background set me apart a little bit from other competitors because I raised Kai since he was a puppy,” Detective Corporal McMahon said. (Kai was three during filming and has since had a birthday.)

Until the series is complete, Detective Corporal McMahon said, he can’t divulge all the challenges of the competition and its strenuous obstacle course that required him to be as fit as his dog. But he heaped praise on Kai, who is the son of his first patrol dog, Ronan.

Morris County Sheriff's Office K-9 Section Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and his partner Kai.
Morris County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Section Detective Corporal Michael McMahon and his partner Kai.

“We have a really good bond. I think he has the nicest temperament of any working dog I’ve ever worked with. He has the ability, like a light switch they say, to turn it on and turn it off. He has the most distinct switch of any dog I’ve ever worked with. When he knows it’s time to work he’s ready to go. When he knows it’s time to relax with family, he’s able to do that as well,” Detective Corporal McMahon said.

“Detective Corporal Michael McMahon’s calm temperament and talents as a K-9 handler are some of the greatest assets of this Agency. By being chosen to compete on the show, he has showcased the fine and often astounding work performed by law enforcement Officers and their K-9 partners,” Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon said.

Detective Corporal McMahon grew up in Long Valley and graduated from Bayley Ellard High School in 2004. He met his future wife while they both worked at the Morris Animal Inn in Morristown. He attended County College of Morris and in 2008, both he and his wife enrolled in the Tom Rose School for Professional Dog Trainers in St. Louis, Missouri.

“He was at the top of his class and demonstrated great promise. I wish I had more students like him,” said school Owner Tom Rose. He said that Detective Corporal McMahon graduated the Professional Dog Trainer and Master Trainer programs.

He and his wife ran a dog training and breeding program in St. Louis, and Detective Corporal McMahon also established a connection with the Morris County Sheriff’s Office by selling and placing dogs with their K-9 Section. The relationship led to a job offer, and he returned to New Jersey and joined the Agency in 2011. After graduating the Morris County Police Academy, he immediately was assigned to the K-9 Section.

He has trained and certified numerous dogs in all aspects of K-9 skills, and earned the title of K-9 trainer in December of 2016.  In December of 2019, he earned the title of Supervising K-9 Trainer. He also is a member of the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team and currently is one of the primarily K-9 handlers for SERT.

Kai, whose favorite reward is the Frisbee, is a prized member of the McMahon family, along with their other four dogs: a Pit Bull/Chihuahua mix, a Border Collie/Jack Russell mix, and two Belgian Malinois dogs that are retired from the Sheriff’s Office. He reiterated his special connection to Kai.

“The show is truly a competition of not just the dog’s skills but the two of you as a team, proving your bond and your ability to work together,” he said.

 

 

Sworn Officer and Civilian Nurse Named Employees of 2019 At The Morris County Correctional Facility

Morris County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Officer Brian Paulison and Licensed Practical Nurse Elizabeth “Beth” Law – both known for their positive approaches to work – have been named Morris County Correctional Facility Employees of the Year for 2019.

From left, Morris County Sheriff's Office Bureau of Corrections Captain Steve Piatti, Correctional Facility Nurse Beth Law, Corrections Officer Brian Paulison, Correctional Facility Warden Christopher Klein.
From left, Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections Captain Steve Piatti, Correctional Facility Nurse Beth Law, Corrections Officer Brian Paulison, Correctional Facility Warden Christopher Klein.

The civilian nurse and sworn Officer were selected for the honor by Correctional Facility Captains and will receive three extra days off and designated parking spaces at the facility for the year.

“I was really honored,” said Officer Paulison. “It’s got to be hard to select an employee of the year because there are a lot of people here who are dedicated to the same mission.”

Nurse Law said she considers co-workers part of her extended family and finds her work in the Medical Unit intriguing and fulfilling.

“It’s been 16 years and I still feel lucky to be here,” she said.

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon said Nurse Law and Officer Paulison have the temperaments and approaches to work that any employer would seek.

“They are trusted, engaged in their work, and always help keep the level of professionalism at the Correctional Facility high,” Sheriff Gannon said.

Correctional Facility Warden Chris Klein said Nurse Law has a great attendance record and a calm and cooperative attitude. She was especially helpful with medical screenings and assessments when the Morris County Correctional Facility entered into a shared services agreement last year with the Sussex County Sheriff’s Office to house Sussex inmates in the Morris County jail.

Morris County Correctional Facility Nurse Beth Law and Corrections Officer Brian Paulison were named Correctional Facility Employees of 2019.
Morris County Correctional Facility Nurse Beth Law and Corrections Officer Brian Paulison were named Correctional Facility Employees of 2019.

Officer Paulison, the Correctional Facility’s liaison to Superior Court, is fully versed on the impact of New Jersey’s Criminal Justice Reform mandates and oversees first appearances in courts by inmates and the corresponding admission and discharge paperwork.

“Officer Paulison is somebody who is always pleasant, and is well-respected within the courts and the legal community,” Warden Klein said.

Officer Paulison, who is in his ninth year of employment at the Correctional Facility, grew up in Morris Plains. He earned a bachelor of science degree in Law & Society and afterwards worked as a dispatcher for the Morris Township Police Department. He was hired by the Morris County Sheriff’s Office in December 2010.

“The opportunity presented itself and it’s been a great place to work,” Officer Paulison said.

Nurse Law, who started working in the Medical Unit of the Correctional Facility 16 years ago, previously worked as a dental assistant and a home health care company coordinator. She decided to pursue a nursing career by enrolling in a program offered by the Morris County School of Technology.

Always interested in psychology and mental health issues, she said, she helps inmates – many of whom struggle with mental health disorders and addiction – adjust as well as they can to incarceration.

“As a nurse, I’m here to care for them regardless of who they are,” Nurse Law said. “I like my job and I couldn’t fathom going anywhere else.”