SEA GIRT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — At the New Jersey State Police Canine Academy, a new class of brave dogs has been training to track down suspects and sniff out drugs – and soon, they will be four-legged officers with badges.
As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported, the German shepherds were carefully selected and brought in from Eastern Europe. One of them, a 2-year-old named Odin, was in training Tuesday to find narcotics in a car.READ MORE: NYPD: William Roberson Charged With Vandalizing Black Wall Street Gallery In SoHo
He did so by scratching the gas cap.
“When he finds those odors that he’s used to smelling inside of his nose, that’s when we train,” said New Jersey State Police Sgt. Archer Jones. “It’s an aggressive alert.”
Four-year-old Ali has become a canine expert in finding suspects behind doors. His goal is peaceful surrender, but officers warn suspects that if they do not surrender, the dogs will come in and bite them.
“The dog will protect me at all costs,” said Jersey City police Officer Eric Peterson. “If (the suspect is) going to punch me, (Ali is) going to grab his arm. If he kicks me, he’s going to go for his leg.”
The dogs’ reward is not food, but a game of tug of war.
“It’s very challenging, but at the same time very rewarding,” said New Jersey State Trooper Christopher Pastor.READ MORE: Full Lineup Revealed For 'We Love New York City: The Homecoming Concert' In Central Park
Bella’s expertise is finding evidence in yields. Her handler is Abington police Officer Jennifer Doyle.
“She is like my child,” Doyle said. “I like to stay close to her, and she likes to stay close to me. Although she is my protector I feel like I am protecting her as well.”
And Werner was named after a fallen state trooper. He has been on the street since 2011 after training for 9 months, and graduating from canine academy.”
“Most of our dogs will work six to eight years on the road,” Sgt. Jones said. “They are trained to locate suspects they are trained to search for missing persons.”
The dogs will train until Feb. 8, when they will graduate from patrol school.
After graduation, the dogs will work as part of a task force, or for their own individual police departments. They will not only sniff out drugs, but also search for missing people.MORE NEWS: Capitol Police Detail Violence, Injuries As Hearings Begin Into Jan. 6 Insurrection
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