This month has another department member retiring from service. After six years of narcotics work, K-9 "Buster" has been slated for a well-deserved retirement. The DPD acquired Buster from Becker Canines in 2007. He and his handler, SPO Corey Lee, certified that June and have been busy taking drugs off of the street ever since.
Buster is a Chocolate Lab, and has been trained thouroughly in the detection of the odor of narcotics like marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine. He can also track human scent and locate discarded articles (such as a weapon from a crime scene). Both Buster and SPO Lee proved their effectiveness as a K-9 team by receiving the coveted "Top Dog" award during last year's Midwest Canine Alternatives certification event.
During their service, Buster and SPO Lee performed over 700 narcotic searches, yielding approximately 150 arrests.
SPO Lee is currently in the process of evaluating and selecting a replacement for Buster. This particular canine will be "dual purpose" trained; meaning it will be able to smell for narcotics and also perform apprehension duties. Numerous area businesses donated funds for the purchase of this canine, which should arrive at the DPD in the next few weeks. A second single-purpose canine, handled by Officer John Hiltunen, is also slated to arrive sometime this summer.
As for Buster, he will retire at SPO Lee's home, living the easy life and chasing squirrels in the backyard. Well done you two!