(CARLISLE) – The Indiana Department of Correction’s (IDOC) K-9 Teams dedicate countless hours to helping maintain safety and security both behind the walls and in their local communities.
A special bond is formed between handlers and their dogs as they work to build trust. That bond is never more evident than when a dog passes.
Recently, Wabash Valley Correctional Facility (WVCF) held an End of Watch for Aggression K-9 Heidi.
When her handler Frank Busby was asked about his bond with Heidi he said, “My relationship with her was awesome. She was my best friend and at the same time knew when it was time to work.”
WVCF’s K-9 Team currently has seven dogs, a bloodhound, three German Shepherds, and three malinoises. Each dog is trained in one of the following areas: trailing, narcotic detection, tobacco detection, aggression, cell phone detection, and suboxone / explosive detection.
K9 Field Commander Mark Shroyer has been on K-9 for more than 19 years.
When asked about the more difficult aspects of being on K-9 he said, “The long hours spent on activations and being away from home for days at a time have been the biggest challenge.”
K-9 Team Leader and Handler Brent Barlow works with Aggression K-9 Luna. He joined the K-9 program in 2016, because of his love for dogs.
“I’ve always had an interest in working with dogs,” said Barlow. “I spent a lot of time gaining Luna’s trust. Now she has absolute trust in me and I in her.”
Handler Ian Henderson works with Narcotics K-9 Bruno. He joined the program in 2020 to gain valuable experience for advancement while doing something he loves.
“Bruno and I have a very strong and happy bond,” Henderson said. “Every day is a learning opportunity for us.”
K-9 Handler Courtney Kinnaman works with Detection K-9 Prince. Courtney joined the program in 2018, because of her love for dogs and her desire to be a part of something more.
“I love my four-legged co-worker,” she added. “He is stubborn and playful. We have learned together.”