CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) – The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office is creating a new team to target the growing drug problem in the county. A Belgian Malinois K9 officer and his handler will work together in narcotics and patrol work.
“We’re training him at this time for narcotics. Then we’ll move onto patrol work,” said Bill Castle, owner of Castle’s K9 in Monroe Township.
K9 Thor just joined the force two weeks ago. He’ll help take a bite out of the drug epidemic.
“We use what we call the bouquet where we take all the odors, all the drug odors, and we put them together,” Castle said. “Once he gets solid on that, then we start separating them.”
The four-legged officer has been training less than a week but can already sniff out drugs.
“We all know it’s getting bad, and it’s getting worse every day,” said Cpl. Shawn Gutshall, K9 Thor’s handler.
Drug deaths in Pennsylvania increased 37 percent in 2016 from the previous year, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office hopes to change that by adding the new human and K9 team.
“The hope is he can work with the other teams in the county, and they can kind of work together and let law enforcement know these dogs are out there. They’re out there to help,” Cumberland County Sheriff Ron Anderson said.
“I think it’s a great opportunity not only for the office but for the county as well. We’re starting out our patrol program that we’ve never had before,” Gutshall said.
K9 Thor should be ready to hit the streets in August.
“We’re looking forward to getting this dog on the street and ready to go,” Castle said.
Another K9 will go through training at Castle’s K9 soon. K9 Magnum, an explosives dog, unexpectedly passed away in June.