Carroll drug task force adds drug-sniffing dogs

December 04, 1992|By Bill Talbott | Bill Talbott,Staff Writer

The Carroll County Drug Task Force has recently added two canines to its family of law enforcement "officers."

The first dog to be included in this exclusive family is Rebel, a 5-year-old German shepherd who came from the Carroll County Sheriff's Department along with his handler, Deputy First Class Melvin Prise.

Deputy Prise and Rebel attended an intensive, two-month training course at the Baltimore County Police K-9 training center at the Wilkens District station in 1990.

A 2-year-old Labrador retriever, Baxter, came on board in September and also attended the training course with Deputy Prise from September to November this year.

Deputy Prise said, "Both dogs are well trained in sniffing out drugs, with Rebel being about 99 percent successful in training and actual searches. Baxter is about 98 percent successful and still learning."

Rebel is also trained as a "patrol" dog and regularly rides with his handler. Baxter will remain solely as a drug-detecting animal, the handler said.

Deputy Prise said he likes having both dogs at his home; he can change animals very quickly if he has been out for a long period searching a large area and the animal becomes tired.

Sgt. John Burton, task force supervisor, said the task force decided to add the K-9 unit to give them the capability to search a vehicle, a person or an area believed to contain drugs by using the animals' ability to pinpoint illegal material.

The animals live in a kennel at the home of their handler and enjoy playing with the children there.

The dogs are described as "very friendly," with Baxter the more gentle when playing with children.

The cost of feeding and caring for the dogs is covered by the task force budget and is considered very low compared with their abilities and value.

Both dogs were examined by a local veterinarian and found to be in excellent health before they were accepted and "sworn in" to be full-fledged members of the force.

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