A Scent Discriminate Patrol Dog was used by the Winnebago County Sheriffs Office to trail a suspected car thief. Using the scent collection and trailing techniques developed by Scent Evidence K9, WCSO K9 Units are finding success with patrol dogs in searches usually deployed by bloodhounds.

Here are the details of a search conducted on 11-12-19 by the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office in IL.

On 11-12-19, Sr. Deputy, Eric Pearson, and K9 Chico were called to conduct a track from an unoccupied stolen vehicle in Winnebago County. Scent was collected from the vehicle. Chico was given the collected scent and a search was conducted. The track ended 1/2 mile from the vehicle. Video was obtained confirming the stolen vehicle turning onto the road where it was abandoned and a suspect that they had believed to be involved going to the vicinity where the trail ended. The trail was 8 hours old. This case is still under investigation at this time. Read More

The Haywood County Sheriff’s Office’s newest K9 deputy “Kilo” is officially part of the law enforcement family.

Sergeant Matthew Trantham and Kilo completed a 10-week handler certification course Friday, Nov. 1, after Kilo passed the U.S. Police Canine Association (USPCA) detection and tracking course (held in August).

 “Since July I’ve been working on one of my dreams since I was in high school- being a K9 handler,” said Trantham.

Ken Thomas and Carol Rogers Thomas donated the German Shepherd to the office in July 2018.

 “This process has changed my life,” Trantham said. “Through many hours of hard work, a lot of help from my wife and guidance from my K9 handler friends along the way, we have made it. It is a gratifying moment now knowing all the hard work has finally paid off.”

Sheriff Greg Christopher said he is extremely proud of the perseverance Sergeant Trantham showed during this process. Read More

Around 60 K-9s and their partners trained for water-related scenarios at Adventure Island on Tuesday.

Though the water park is closed for the season, its doors have opened for K-9 training for six years now.

Three different scenarios were set up for training, including a deep dive and the wave pool. A children’s area of the park was also opened for the K-9s to train.

Law enforcement from across the Tampa Bay area was present, as well as the military.

Corporal Ryan Flannigan with Tampa Police helps coordinate these trainings every year. Read More

The Chilton County Sheriff’s Office and the Clanton Police Department K-9 units teamed up for presentations at Isabella High School on Nov. 1.

During the presentation to the high school and middle school students, CCSO School Security Resource Officer William “Billy” Scarbrough and CPD Cpt. David Clackley demonstrated how the police dogs work.

Sheriff John Shearon said Scarbrough uses police dog Shep to patrol the school for drugs and to keep them out of the school.

“Their nose is like a 100 times stronger than a human nose,” Scarbrough said. Read More

How To Become a K9 Officer
Earning a living alongside man’s best friend.

Olympia, Washington October 21, 2019

Whether you’re a dog lover or have been curious about serving the public in the arena of law enforcement, the role of a K9 officer is sure to pique your interest. From bomb detection to protecting our nation’s ports of entry, we take a deeper look at this amazing profession.

What is a K9 Officer?

A K9 Officer (also called a K9 Handler) is a law enforcement professional that partners with highly-trained police dogs. These canines are trained to do tasks that humans can’t do, such as sniff out bombs and drugs. Handlers have to undergo rigorous training to learn how to control, read, and trust their dogs. At the Washington State Patrol (WSP), the state’s premier law enforcement agency, some trooper K9s were actually once rescue dogs. Once properly trained, the canines are considered official members of the WSP. Although the dogs are the property of the WSP, and are considered officers, they live with their handlers to develop strong bonds with them.

How to become a Trooper K9 Handler

Becoming a Trooper K9 Handler requires a solid amount of education and testing which includes your high school diploma or GED, a background check, drug and polygraph test. After gaining experience as a cadet in multiple areas, you must graduate from the Academy and be sworn into office as a trooper.

In the case of a large agency such as the WSP, there are many opportunities to receive training in your areas of interest. We recently had the pleasure of going onsite with Kevin Fortino, who joined WSP in 2007 as a cadet. Kevin graduated from the Academy in 2008 as a fully-commissioned trooper and worked for the field operations bureau for several years before cross-training alongside the K9 division. Eventually he decided that a K9 handler position was the best and most rewarding job for him. Today, Fortino can be found in Seattle working with his K9 counterpart, Luna, a three-year-old yellow lab. Luna is tasked with screening vehicles for explosives before they board one of the highly traveled ferry routes departing from Colman Dock.


Watch Fortino and Luna in action at this link:

In order to ensure that Luna can accurately detect explosives, Fortino places a training aid amongst several vehicles and, using his hand as a guide, leads her in detecting contraband. Keeping Luna on task and focused can be a struggle, especially with distractions out in the field, but both Kevin and his partner are highly trained and up to the task.

How do handlers train their dogs?

Training a trooper K9 is an intricate task that requires significant attention to detail. Says Fortino, “We learn to read our dogs. For example, when they are on a trained odor, we know what their reaction is, whether it’s increased respiration or breathing, or whether it’s a tail wag. Patience is extremely important. You’re working with an animal- an animal that has a mind of its own.”

Not only do trooper K9s and handlers screen vehicles, but they are also called in to assess bomb threats at buildings, schools, and other facilities. To prepare for a bomb threat at a school, for example, the K9 team has to do hands -on training with lockers, desks, and other items typically found inside a school to acclimate the dogs to a typical surrounding before called to an actual investigation. “I want her to walk in there and [think], “I’ve been here before. I’ve found my reward here before, and so I’m going to look for it,” says Fortino.

Once a trooper K9 detects a suspicious odor on duty, like gunpowder inside a car, she will alert her handler to check things out. The handler will then approach the window and question the driver by asking questions such as: “Where are you coming from? What do you have that my dog might be smelling?” He may also look for clues inside the car, including ammunition bags or boxes of rounds. In the end, if they can verify that these items are being carried legally, there will be no issue and the driver will be free to go.

How are the dogs treated as a K9 Trooper?

Like their human counterparts, K9 troopers are considered WPS officers and thus, highly regarded. In fact, at the Academy, right next to a memorial for the 29 troopers who have died in the line of duty over the past 98 years of service, there is a second memorial for K9s who have died in the line of duty. Their names, badge numbers and likenesses are engraved on a black marble wall and their service and sacrifice are afforded the highest honor.

What is the best part of working for the WSP as a Trooper K9 Handler?

For Fortino, he says that one of the best parts of his job is watching the dog grow, watching your relationship or your bond grow from going to the Academy on the first day with your new K9 thinking, “How am I going to get this dog trained like the ones I see working at the dock every day?” and then, through that process, you start to see those skills coming together, both in you and the K9, and sometimes faster in the K9. Although it can be frustrating to watch the dog grow faster than the handler, the entire training process, according to Fortino, “…makes you grow as a person and creates that bond that’s inseparable…with that partner that you’re trusting so much out here.”

How does this job open up opportunities for advancement?

Advancement opportunities within law enforcement agencies vary throughout the country. Most positions offer a fair wage, generous benefits and provide a great opportunity for advancement. As a trooper K9 handler, you might be working with Homeland Security, the FBI, the Coast Guard, the Ferry Systems, etc. Any trooper, especially one in a specialized field, is likely to work side-by-side with leaders from a variety of government and non-government services. In fact, the current chief of the WSP started as a cadet over 40 years ago before becoming a trooper, then motorcycle officer and beyond. The Chief reports directly to the governor and is respected across the nation and around the world as a leader in public safety.

“I really like my job,” says Fortino. He further explains:

“It’s rewarding to know that the effort I put into the job shows up in good results. Being able to screen vehicles prior to boarding and watch that vessel sail and know that I had a hand in making sure it’s going to make its destination safely is a very rewarding accomplishment.”

Working for WSP requires you to be both ambitious and humble and always ready to do what needs to be done for the right reasons. Through hard work and determination, working for and advancing through the ranks of the WSP is a very fulfilling career with many rewarding paths to choose from.

For more information on careers at the Washington State Patrol visit: http://www.wsp.wa.gov/careers-with-wsp/




For Immediate Release

Contact: Chris Pennington

Phone: 919.436.7008

Email: chris@strivven.com


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Say it’s a sweltering August afternoon and the sidewalk is hot enough to sear a New York strip. You walk by a parked cop car, and are startled by a deep bark emanating from behind the heavily tinted windows.

There’s a police dog in the vehicle. And although it’s a highly trained dog, it’s still a dog, and still susceptible to the same heat exhaustion any other animal — or person — would experience if left in a hot car.

Every year, thousands of dogs die when left in vehicles, even for as little as 15 minutes — and even in the dead of winter. If the vehicle’s cabin heats up in the sun and there’s no way to cool it down, it’s far more than a dog’s furry body can withstand.

It’s easy for tenderhearted passersby to assume the worst when confronted by this scene. But cops have put a lot of thought into keeping their four-legged partners safe. Even in blazing temperatures.

Just ask New York State Police trooper Charles Kaplan. He’s usually accompanied on the road by his partner, Liam — a 4-year-old German shepherd trained to detect narcotics, find cadavers, search buildings and keep Kaplan safe. Read More

Woodhaven Police Officer Dean Vann is not a big fan of Facebook, nor is Police Chief Robert Toth, but both are singing the praises of social media now that the department has won a nationwide online photo contest for K9s and their handlers.

Vann is the handler for K9 Officer Bruno and their picture recently was entered into the magazine contest for an opportunity to have registration fees paid to attend the ninth annual international K-9 Cop Conference & Vendor Show in Nashville, Tennessee.

Vann and Bruno didn’t just win, they won by a landslide.

More than 1,600 people voted on Facebook for the Woodhaven team, with the second-place finisher coming in at about 300 votes.

There were 32 entries in the contest from departments in California, Kentucky, Florida, Canada, New York, Missouri and more.

The conference will be held in September and last for three days. Read More

CHANDLER, Texas (KETK) – A Flint man is behind bars Tuesday morning after a Henderson County K-9 officer named Max found $22,700 pounds of meth in his car.

“It is the largest haul this Office has brought in with the K-9’s. It took solid law-enforcement work and great internal cooperation to make this happen. It shows just how serious we are about cracking-down illegal drugs in this County. ” BOTIE HILLHOUSE, HENDERSON COUNTY SHERIFF

James Mastin, 60, was pulled over for a traffic violation and was found to be driving without a license. K-9 Max was called in with his handler Deputy Hogan for an open-sniff of the vehicle. Read More

Something about the two men Investigator J.M. Talamantez pulled over for speeding just didn’t feel right. As an interdiction officer for the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office, Talamantez knew the signs of illegal activity, but instinct isn’t a legal reason to search. When he asked for permission, the vehicle’s occupants refused.

Earlier this year, his only option would have been to issue the driver a speeding ticket and send the two on their way. In this particular case, however, that would have meant missing $250,000 worth of meth that was hidden in the car along with thousands of dollars and a gun.

The addition in April of a K-9 unit gave Talamantez a better option. He requested the assistance of Deputy Kyle Ciolfi and his specially trained partner K9 Ron to sniff out any possible trouble — literally. Read More

HUNTERSVILLE, NC — Residents of Huntersville have a new face on the police force to look for around town, one with deep soulful eyes, and, if he’s like most others, potentially questionable breath. Huntersville Police Department’s newest member is Gunner, an adorable one-year-old German shorthaired pointer who joins the department’s K9 unit as a narcotics and trailing dog.

Gunner and his handler, Officer Daniel Johnson, recently completed a three week training program and join three shepherds in the unit, said HPD Officer Odette Saglimbeni. The three shepherds work as patrol dogs, she said. Read More