BALTIMORE (WJZ) — State police welcomed new members to the force Friday.

As Gigi Barnett reports, these new troopers have four legs.

With four legs and covered in fur, they’re the newest state troopers. For these canines, sniffing out drugs is all play.

“It’s all a game to them, so as soon as they learn the game and know that’s where the fun comes from, they focus in,” said Adam Thomas, Maryland State Police K-9 Unit.

The eight German shepherds, one golden retriever and one chocolate lab trained over the last couple of months. Most of the dogs are only about 18 months old and were all hand-selected for the K-9 unit.

“It was a challenge but if I put my work on the front side and select good troopers and good K-9 prospects that will work and it worked well,” said K-9 trainer Sgt. John Beville.

The state police has had a K-9 unit since 1961 and this is the largest class in recent years; 10 dogs graduated Friday.

“He’s with me all the time. My lab is a little jealous,” said Adam Thomas.

Thomas and Recon are now partners. Thomas says handling a canine means extra eyes, ears and noses to fight crime.

“I would see other previous handlers out there doing the job and I just knew it would be so much cooler having that extra tool out there to be a help,” Thomas said.

And it’s an extra asset on the force.

The celebration didn’t last long. Most of the dogs and their handlers started work Saturday morning in the narcotics unit.


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