CORTLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – The rise in the Valley’s opioid epidemic means officers of all kinds have to stay current on their drug training, especially when new substances start showing up. Along with human members of the police departments, their K9 partners who detect the drugs need refresher courses, too.
Police dogs throughout Trumbull County received training during a session at the fairgrounds on Monday.
The human officers did a small workshop inside, then got to work with the dogs outside. The officers hid the fake drugs in cars and on their bodies — and the dogs got to work.
K9 officers play a bigger role in the police department than just tackling thieves.
“We’re always aware but it’s getting more scary because what we feared is now here. So we have to be very cautious on how the dogs are deployed,” said Dave Blosser, with the Weathersfield Police Department.
The area’s drug problem means that role K9s have is even more critical in fighting crime. It also makes the annual training for Trumbull County police dogs a lot more important — not only to capture the people who have drugs on them, but to keep the officers safe from aggressive people and their weapons.
“Every year, we try to bring in someone unique. This year was ScentLogix, the founder of it,” Blosser said.
Scent scientist David Adebimpe’s company develops substances that smell exactly like drugs to help law enforcement officers and their dogs recognize them.
“Of all current technologies, dogs are the most efficient in finding concealed target materials,” he said.
Even Representative Sean O’Brien came out and geared up on Monday to see what it takes for these dogs to be trained to work side-by-side with their handlers.
“When you look at the dog’s nose and how it works, the car and it goes and looks for the drugs, and the training that it has, it’s better than any machine that’s out there,” O’Brien said.
He’ll report back to the legislature how the dogs are being used to fight the drug epidemic.
Blosser said when the training is done, he wants officers to know how to better read their dog’s body language.
“Safety is always foremost. Look and understand it from a different scientific thing. Read the dogs better in the way they deploy them, which is handling them in the field.”
This training session will last a week.