State Dept. K-9s Adopted by Local Law Enforcement Agencies

NBC Universal, Inc.

Highly trained explosive detection K-9s used abroad by the State Department were given to local law enforcement agencies where the dogs will continue their careers.

After intensive training at the Global Canine Service Center in Winchester, Virginia, learning to find explosives the dogs and their handlers head abroad to places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, often posted at embassies.

The work in dangerous places with exposure to bombings and rocket attacks can take a toll.

“We don’t want to overextend the service life of the K-9s in places where they’re going to be overly tasked and exposed to high levels of danger and, really, austerity in terms of conditions,” Diplomatic Security Service Director Carlos Matus said.

After about five years the Diplomatic Security Service brings them home and donates them to local law enforcement so they can continue to put their skills to work.

“It means so much with the limited resources that local agency has, we   wouldn’t have the money to purchase an explosive detection dog,” said Timothy Schraff of the Winchester City Sheriff’s Office.

Thursday’s adoption ceremony recognized the dogs’ valuable contribution. About 14 dogs went to new local law enforcement homes. Schraff got his K-9, Rafferty, from the program about three years ago.

“He’s the star of this team,” he said. “I’m just along for the ride. He does fantastic.”

They are called out anytime there is a bomb threat or fear of explosives in the Winchester area.

“I use the dog to respond to bomb threats, suspicious packages, that sort of thing,” Schraff said.

Virginia State Police just got their newest K-9 partner, now nicknamed Viper. They’ve had seven of the donated dogs. They add to the explosives training by teaching weapons detection.

The dogs stay busy with an increasing number of threats at schools.

“Anything that we can get our dog into, we try to get our dogs to help our public as much as we can,” Virginia State Police K-9 Program Director Wade Blevins said.

The State Department program has donated about 45 K-9s to law enforcement partners in eight states, including Virginia and Maryland.

Contact Us