Police dogs crucial to assisting law enforcement

Police dogs crucial to assisting law enforcement »Play Video
TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- Inmates are finding new ways to sneak drugs into jail. Which is putting canine officers to work more often. KEPR learned some of the ways these police dogs are solving crimes in our community daily.

Best friend by night. Colleague by day.

"Egon" is a crucial part of the Benton County Sheriff's team.
He lives with Deputy Brett Hansen, who brings Egon to work with him.

"He has skills with his nose that a human can't do. He can find people in areas that we've looked and maybe missed them in thick shrubs, in closets, in buildings," said Deputy Hansen.

"Let me see your hands or I'm gonna send the dog! Let me see your hands! Go get 'em! Go get 'em! Oh good boy! That's a good boy, ooooh yeah," Deputy Hansen said to Egon.

Egon is trained to go after suspects.

"Good boy, we find the bad guy!" he said.

He joined the team this past fall, and had a major take-down recently. A drunk man was threatening his elderly parents, law enforcement, and his neighborhood. Waving weapons and being uncooperative. Deputy Hansen sent Egon in.

"Egon hit him in the leg and held onto him as we were able to subdue him and place him in custody," said Deputy Hansen.

Kennewick Police just recently marked their one year anniversary with drug dog, Bear.

"Find it, find it, good boy! Here, check here, find it! Oh yeah, good boy!"

Bear is credited with located dozens of pounds of meth worth nearly $30,000 on the street. Some has come from inmates.

"Suspects go to a great length to try to conceal narcotics that they're transporting and he (bear) gives us a good idea of where to start," said K-9 Officer, Isaac Merkle.

The department also has an apprehension K-9, trained similarly to Egon. That officer recently found a murder weapon crucial to charging a suspect.

"They're great. They're a handful sometimes, but they're worth every minute of it and they're really an asset to the community," said Merkle.

There are two canine officers on staff at all local agencies with the exception of Richland and Franklin County. They don't have any.

Back in the early 2000's, a couple of Franklin County police dogs sniffed out inmates trying to tunnel out of the jail. This success inspired other local agencies to get dogs, though Franklin County no longer has them.