Six new K9 teams, each including a dog and handler, graduated earlier this month from the Alaska State Troopers K9 Detector Academy. Only days later, one of those teams led law enforcement to the seizure of a large quantity of illegal narcotics.
The six-week-long academy, which concluded in Fairbanks on October 19, 2019, was comprised of three Alaska State Troopers K9 teams including K9 Lenox, K9 Kimmik, and K9 Blitz; Fairbanks Police Department’s K9 Diesel; Cordova Police Department’s K9 Eyak; and North Slope Borough Police Department’s K9 Millie. The graduates are now certified for drug detection work.
To receive certification, drug detection dogs undergo rigorous training focusing on scent detection abilities to prepare them for a broad range of situations. Meanwhile, handlers must complete a comprehensive exam to test their knowledge of dog psychology, training philosophy, and handling.
The academy’s training paid off on October 24 when K9 Lenox, named for fallen Trooper Gabriel Lenox Rich, helped a Fairbanks area narcotics team locate and seize some 1¼ pounds of methamphetamine and 2½ ounces of heroin with a combined street value of about $50,000. A loaded handgun and Lincoln Mark LT Pickup Truck were also seized. It was K9 Lenox’s first deployment.
“They do things we can’t do all by ourselves,” said Troopers K9 Instructor Sgt. Joel Miner of the dogs.
The next training phase for the Troopers K9 teams and the Fairbanks team is Patrol Dog Academy which focuses on tracking, apprehension, and handler protection.
To see Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit K9 drug statistics, visit https://dps.alaska.gov/ast/sdeu/drug-stats