Sergeant Michael B. Webb
Kentucky State Police
Public Affairs Branch
Office (502) 782-1780
Six New Canine Teams Complete
Kentucky State Police Training
(Frankfort, KY) - In response to the continuing increase of illegal drug use in the Commonwealth, the Kentucky State Police is bolstering its ranks with the addition of six, pure-bred German Shepherds trained in narcotics detection and tracking. The dogs and their handlers marked the completion of their initial three-month training period at a graduation ceremony held today at the Kentucky State Police Central Lab in Frankfort.
>"Working as a team with their handlers, these dogs further enhance our capabilities in the fight against illegal drugs in Kentucky," notes KSP Commissioner Patrick N. Simpson, who presented certificates of completion to the teams. "They increase our efficiency and effectiveness and provide an economical supplement to our more high tech law enforcement tools. They'll prove their worth in the field immediately."
The new canine teams will be dispersed to various KSP posts throughout the state in order to be more accessible to troopers in the field. The teams include Trooper Todd Combs and Rex (Bowling Green), Trooper Bo Cure and Gero (Pikeville), Trooper Todd Maggard and Cinto (Frankfort), Trooper Richie Miller and Balko (Harlan), Trooper Shawn Podunavac and Roky (Ashland) and Trooper Kenny Yarber and Waldo (Morehead).
The new dogs will join five others already working as part of the Kentucky State Police Special Operations Section under the command of Sgt. Dale Richardson. "The unit is primarily a support function and provides assistance to troopers in the field as well as other law enforcement agencies," says Richardson. "Its duties include assisting with building and vehicle searches for drugs on search warrants and traffic stops, helping to locate missing or lost people or escapees, searching for buried bodies and evidence and detection of explosive devices in response to bomb threats and preventive bomb sweeps for large social gatherings."
According to Trooper Tony Perkins, a certified canine trainer/instructor who has been with KSP's program since 1987, the dogs can be helpful in many ways. "Dogs are very effective when it comes to manpower hours," he explains. "For example, they can search school lockers in a matter of minutes. It could take a person hours to complete the same search and it wouldn't be as effective."
Trooper Richie Miller of the KSP Harlan post is eager to put his dog Balko to work. "Oxycontin is a priority on our area," he says. "We're going to be able to take a lot more drugs off the street."
The new dogs were obtained from Cross Creek K9 Training Academy in Edgefield, South Carolina at a cost of $3,875 each. "We hope to purchase additional dogs in the future for use in explosive and cadaver detection," says Richardson. "They are excellent manpower multipliers who can really make a difference in law enforcement operations."