Marshalltown Police Department Officer Nick Svoboda is the new K9 handler in town.

Svoboda has served Marshalltown for nearly four years. He works the day shift patrol and holds secondary assignments as a department field training officer and SWAT team member.

Svoboda will attend Basic K9 School in Buffalo, Minn. on Aug. 16. The training will be completed by Performance Kennels Inc, which is the same vender that supplied dogs for previous MPD K9 handlers. The school is scheduled for 10 weeks, and will provide training to the K9 team in the areas of obedience, evidence search, building search, tracking and criminal apprehension. Svoboda will also receive training on basic narcotics detection. Upon completion of the training, the K9 team will be certified in patrol work and narcotics detection.

On July 5, Svoboda picked up his new partner, K9 Atlas. Atlas is a 13-month-old German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois cross who was imported to the United States from Slovakia and comes from a long line of working dogs.

Svoboda and Atlas will spend the next several weeks getting acquainted and bonding before training begins.