Idaho State Police just added two new drug dogs who join the force at a very dangerous time. The dogs and officers are at increased risk from a highly potent drug called Fentanyl. Now ISP is adapting to protect their canine friends.
For ISP K-9 units, work is play.
"The dogs play hide and seek looking for a toy," says ISP Captain Russ Wheatley. "They're trained to smell and looking for a reward."
This is just practice for these expert noses, but on the streets, the stakes are high, even if they don't know it. One of the biggest risks is the influx of a new, and highly potent opioid called Fentanyl.
"Guys are seeing more Fentanyl which we're traditionally not used to seeing in this state," reports Sergeant Ken Yount.
A nose full of Fentanyl can cause a serious overdose. So all six ISP K-9 units now carry special doggie-sized doses of Naloxone, which can reverse an opioid overdose.
"We've issued all troopers Naloxone for their protection and if they're exposed to heroin or Fentanyl," says Wheatley. "The dogs are also at risk of exposure."
A recent bust by ISP proves the risk.
"Later we found it was a mixture of meth and Fentanyl. And it takes only a small dose of Fentanyl to cause a hazardous exposure, " says Wheatley.
The two new drug dogs help ISP cover district two and four without having to call a dog in from another area.
They say, with drug busts on the rise, the new dogs and their safety, are paramount.