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King County Sheriff’s Office gets new explosives-sniffing dog

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on March 21, 2007 at 12:00 pm with No Comments »
March 21, 2007 12:00 pm

Four paws have been added to the King County Sheriff’s Office.

The department has a new explosives-sniffing black Labrador Retriever named Stevie. He’ll be introduced to the public and the meeting this afternoon during a demonstration at the Metro Central Atlantic Operations Building in Seattle.

Stevie is the Sheriff’s Office’s second explosives-sniffing dog, joining Jones and his handler, deputy John Decker. But he is the first to be assigned full-time to the Metro Transit Police unit.

Stevie and his handler, deputy Tim Morgan, will patrol Metro Transit facilities, conducting random sweeps of the buildings and buses, the Sheriff’s Office reported. They’ll also be available to respond to bomb threats and crime scenes where firearms and ammunition might be located.

Here’s a little more information about Jones and Stevie, courtesy of the Sheriff’s Office:

Both dogs are Labrador Retrievers, and each received 10 weeks of training at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) Training Center in Fort Royal, Virginia.

In addition to sniffing out all kinds of explosives, the animals can detect or locate firearms, ammunition, and shell casings. They can also find gunpowder and explosive residue on people.

Jones is a two year-old Chocolate Lab. He was born into a litter from the Guiding Eyes Foundation in New York. ATF found him as a puppy and thought he would make a good bomb dog. Jones entered the Puppy Behind Bars program and was raised by an inmate. He and handler John Decker graduated from the Fort Royal program in July 2006.

Stevie is a 1½ year-old Black Lab and graduated in December of 2006, along with handler Tim Morgan. They are assigned full-time to Metro Transit Police, thanks to a grant from the Dept. of Homeland Security. Their duties include bomb sweeps of Metro buses and facilities, with a special emphasis on the downtown tunnel when it re-opens this fall.

Since both dogs are trained and supplied by the ATF, they are on-call and can be deployed all over the West Coast when needed.

Both dogs live with their handlers and their families. The dogs are trained on the food reward system. That means in order to eat they must train every day, searching out training aids about 30 times a day for a few bites of food each time.

Both handlers are long-time veterans of the Sheriff’s Office. Deputy John Decker has been a deputy for 24 years. He has been assigned to the Bomb Unit since 1992. He received his first bomb dog, Quincy, in 1999.

(Quincy is now retired and lives a dog’s life at home with John and his wife Kathy, also a Sheriff’s deputy.)

Deputy Tim Morgan has been with the Sheriff’s Office for over 21 years, and in SWAT and the Bomb Unit for 13 years. This is his first bomb dog.

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