Local police department's new team members 'sniff' out bad guys

Stacey Spivey
Tuesday, August 5, 2014 - 5:54pm

Who said you can't teach an old dog news tricks? One local police department has done just that. "Whether they're locating narcotics, or whether they're tracking runaways, elderly people, they're just a great tool to have," said Jeremy Jackson, Alto Chief of Police.

Its only been 6 months since the Alto police department got their newest additions to their team, Kelly and Tasha. Jackson said the two Belgian malinois shepherds help the department sniff out the bad guys. "Its part of our job to take narcotics off the street, and the dogs have been able to help us take more narcotics off the streets," said Jackson.

Once a week they join forces with surrounding police department dogs to train their noses for narcotics. "It keeps us sharp for whenever we're working out in the public," said Norman Garner, director of training for the National Canine Interdiction Association. Garner said they do a series of tests and practices,to keep the dogs on their 'a-game.' They practice finding hidden drugs and what to do during an arrest.

Garner said there's been a new shift in the type of police dog. He said they have become more popular, especially in Texas, because they're lighter weight, more hyper-active, and have thinner hair.

However, before they were fighting crime, they were just dogs in shelters. Garner says normally drug dogs cost $12,000, so anytime this breed has been abandoned he picks them up. He said, "the ones that have aptitude to do police work, they're donated to the police departments."

This is giving police departments, like alto, more than just helpers, but new members of their families. Jackson said, "all of our dogs are right with our kids everyday, in our daily walks of life, if we go on vacation, our dogs go on vacation with us."

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