A ceremony held today on the south lawn of the Indiana Statehouse recognized the graduation of seven K-9 teams from the DNR Division of Law Enforcement’s K-9 Resource Protection Program.
The seven graduating teams represented the states of Kansas, Oregon, Utah and Virginia.
The K-9 teams trained and honed their skills in Orange County in southern Indiana to qualify to today’s ceremony.
“The officers and their K-9 partners graduating today have completed nine total weeks of rigorous training,” said Maj. Tim Beaver of DNR Law Enforcement. “That is a tremendous personal investment and a lot of time spent away from home. The first time you locate that lost child or that trespassing poacher, it will all be worth it.”
The Indiana K-9 program started in 1997, with a pilot program of two teams. The effectiveness of the program was quickly realized. The program grew to a team of 12 K-9 units located throughout Indiana. There is at least one K-9 unit in all 10 Indiana DNR Law Enforcement districts.
The Indiana K-9 program is not only well respected in the Hoosier state, but also recognized as one of the top programs in the nation. Indiana has helped start and train teams from seven sister natural resource agencies (Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Oregon, Utah and Virginia).
Indiana K-9 teams are trained in man-tracking, wildlife detection and article searches. All canines are trained to locate white-tailed deer, wild turkey, waterfowl and ginseng. They may also be trained to locate other species, depending on the geographic area of Indiana the handler is stationed. Indiana teams excel in man-tracking and locating firearms.
K-9 teams provide the officers in their districts another tool to help stop poaching. In the past 22 years, K-9 teams across Indiana have been involved in more than six-thousand such cases. K-9 teams have been used to find hidden game and guns, as well as to find shell casings in road hunting and spotlighting cases. K-9 teams are used to find lost hunters as well as poachers who have tried to conceal themselves from officers. Because of their unique abilities, K-9 units are often requested by other state and local law enforcement agencies for help in locating evidence in their cases and in locating missing persons or fleeing felons.