Bluffton police have new crimefighting weapons


Officers go through extensive training and are on the job for long hours without a break.

So then why do the latest members of the Bluffton Police force feel like they are “playing” on the job all day?

“That dog’s got nothing. c’mon c’mon..arrrgghh”

An “attack” on a “suspect”. A simulation in this case. Part fo the training for the two newest members of Bluffton Police, K9 officers Teeko and Hunden.

Both born in Czechoslovakia, trained in the United State. The two latest tools in Bluffton Police’s crimefighting arsenal.

“These dogs take the spot for 4 officers,” explains K9 handler Joe DeLong. “So they take the workload and we are trusting them with their nose.”

A nose for police work, for drugs, for suspects and missing people. All part of their job on the force.

“The first time we find that missing kid in the woods where the typical officer would not be able to do, or the first time we can find a bad guy who is on the loose who can cause harm to somebody else, its worth its weight in gold,” said Lt. Joe Babkiewicz of Bluffton Police.

For these dogs their toy is “gold”.

Its what they trained with and what motivates them.

“The way they train the dog is they put the drug inside the toy and they start playing fetch with them,” explains Babkiewicz. “So the dog starts associating the toy with drugs. So eventually we take away their toy and hide the drugs and they think they are looking for their toy.”

But many times what they find instead is criminal.

“They are considered to be patrol dogs. They can do anything from tracking tracking a suspect to tracking a missing child to building searches,” said the Lt. “If we go to a burglary and there’s an open door, we will send the dog inside if there’s a human being or a bad guy inside because we don’t want to risk the lives of our officers sending them in there. The dog will go in there and tell us exactly what room the person is hiding, what room the person is in.”

“Their strength and smell and ability to protect others and to locate missing people missing kids is something that us humans cant do and its another tool for us to have.”

After paying $16,000 and four months training, including one month with their new handlers, the dogs are now on the beat, working and playing with their new best friend and partner.

“That bond is absolutely vital,” said Babkiewicz. “That dog needs to be in tune to that handler. That dog needs to understand that if something happens to my master my handler then im not going to get fed  or im not going to get a treat that night. So anytime that handler gets attacked or he tells him to do something he knows he better do it.”

“Its almost like having a son as a dog,” said DeLong. “He looks up to me, i look to him for guidance, and the bond is something that can’t be broken. They aren’t going to give up until i give up, and im not going to give up.”

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