Idaho State Police welcomes a new canine to its ranks
The Idaho State Police has added “Bingo”, a Labrador and Golden Retriever mix who is almost two years old, to its District 4 office in Jerome. “Bingo” joins Trooper Steve Otto on the road as a drug detection dog, as part of ISP’s drug interdiction team. “Bingo” is the only K-9 member of the team.
“Bingo” was obtained with funds from a grant through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program through the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Otto selected “Bingo” from a group of about thirteen dogs in Bellingham, Washington, however “Bingo” hails from Boise.
Through a turn of events, the trainer in Bellingham had recently received him from an elderly woman who was no longer able to care for him. Otto and “Bingo” left Washington and headed to Utah for two months of extensive training from the Utah POST K-9 Academy.
“Bingo” and Trooper Otto are certified by the Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training, and they both continue to train with the Twin Falls Police Department’s canine team every week to meet the 16 hours of required monthly training.
“Bingo” is only trained to detect illicit drugs and will not be used for apprehension of subjects.
Certification includes standards for detection dogs to obey basic control commands that most well-behaved dogs should obey such as “sit” and “stay,” but they must also be able to find drugs in residential and commercial buildings, vehicles, containers and exterior open areas. The controlled substances that canines are required to detect to be certified include marijuana, cocaine, heroin and opiate derivatives, and methamphetamine.
As a K-9 handler, Trooper Otto cares for “Bingo” twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and “Bingo” lives with Otto and his family.
(photo: courtesy Idaho State Police)