INDIANAPOLIS – A ceremony held today on the south lawn of the Indiana Statehouse recognized the graduation of nine K-9 teams that completed the DNR Division of Law Enforcement’s K-9 Resource Protection program.
In addition to the one team that will serve in the Hoosier state, the graduating class included units from Kansas, Missouri, Utah and Virginia that traveled to Indiana to train and hone their skills in Orange County to qualify for today’s ceremony.
“Without a doubt, these well-trained officers and their K-9 partners will help their respective agencies find more evidence, locate more lost people, and catch more poachers in the act,” said Maj. Tim Beaver of DNR Law Enforcement, who leads the training. “They are a valuable asset to their agencies, the public they serve, and the protection of our natural resources.”
Indiana’s K-9 program started in 1997 with a pilot program of two teams. Because of its effectiveness, the program grew to a team of 13 K-9 units throughout the state. At least one K-9 unit serves in each of the 10 Indiana DNR Law Enforcement districts.
The Indiana K-9 program is not only well respected in the Hoosier state, but also recognized as one of the top programs in the nation. In addition to the states represented in today’s graduation, Indiana has also helped start and train teams from natural resource agencies in Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, and Oregon.
The Indiana K-9 program trains teams that serve in Indiana in man-tracking, wildlife detection and article searches. All canines are trained to locate white-tailed deer, wild turkey, waterfowl and ginseng. They may also be trained to locate other species, depending on where in Indiana the handler is stationed. Indiana teams excel in man-tracking and locating firearms.
K-9 teams provide the officers in their districts another tool to help stop poaching. In the past 24 years, Indiana K-9 teams have been involved in more than 7,500 such cases. K-9 teams have been used to find hidden game and guns, as well as to find shell casings in road hunting and spotlighting cases. K-9 teams are used to find lost hunters as well as poachers who have tried to hide from officers. Because of their unique abilities, K-9 units are often requested by other state and local law enforcement agencies for help in locating evidence and in locating missing persons or fleeing felons.