MINNEAPOLIS - The war on drugs now has three, new four-legged fighters.
After weeks of training, the newest members of the Minnesota State Patrol demonstrated how they search locations for drugs. The new K-9s, King, Remy and Keno, all experienced 10 weeks of training where they learned to detect various drugs in different locations.
Sgt. Chat Mills, the K-9 Coordinator, said dogs are paired with handlers that match their personalities.
“We select the dogs. They have no training. They are completely raw. We train them on the odors and what we want to do. We expose them to a lot of environments,” he said.
The Minnesota State Patrol now has 15 K-9’s.
On Monday, the K-9’s showed members of the media how they locate drugs. The troopers hid narcotics, including crack cocaine, on a vehicle.
King’s handler, Trooper Austin Christensen, says King has already helped clean up the streets.
“During those searches, we have uncovered heroin, marijuana, meth -- you name it, it is going to come into the state,” Christensen said. “He is hyper. He is always ready to work, the minute I take him out he thinks it is his job to immediately start looking for narcotics.”
Between January and June 2017, the Minnesota State Patrol K-9 teams have seized 13.5 pounds of heroin, 17.5 pounds of cocaine and 1,150 pounds of marijuana.
Troopers say King is special because he can search tight spaces.
Lt. Governor Tina Smith was also on hand for the demonstration.
“With drug overdoses on the rise in Minnesota, these dogs will help get drugs including methamphetamine and heroin, off our streets and out of our communities. In Minnesota, we understand that providing law enforcement with the tools they need is only part of a successful strategy to address substance abuse. We also are committed to expanding treatment and recovery efforts, which will help us turn the tide on this public health crisis.”