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Detection Dog Training to Keep Drugs Off Streets

March 15, 2023

By Brendan Baptiste DOC Communications

(Brendan Baptiste, Communications Office)

Keeping illegal drugs out of our community is tough task that takes a lot of effort from law enforcement to keep our communities safe. Whether it’s your local neighborhood, prison, or airport, additional help may be needed to find and remove these items. That is where a detection dog comes into play. These animals are highly trained to detect everything from illicit drugs to explosives with the use of their noses.

The Department of Corrections has a training program that prepares these dogs for use in law enforcement agencies across the state. Detection dogs are sourced from shelters and rescues and are given a second chance in life as a working animal. An officer in need of a working dog will be paired with their animal through the training program and will then take the dog back to their agency at the completion of training.

Dogs will receive approximately two weeks training before being paired with a handler. Once a new handler is assigned, they will both continue for an additional six weeks of training. This amounts to 240 hours of training as required by state criminal justice training commission. From then on, handlers will set aside a minimum of 16 hours a month to continue maintenance training which will ensure their dogs stay sharp on the job.

“If any dog doesn’t make it through the training program, they will be returned to their original shelter or rescue,” says Barbara Davenport, Corrections Specialist. “We don’t in any way circumvent their adoption procedures.”