Poulsbo’s newest police officer will become top dog

POULSBO — Poulsbo’s police force is preparing to add another officer to its ranks, and the rookie is certain to be an expert at sniffing out crime.

The Poulsbo Police Department has made a down payment on a new narcotics dog. It’s a program that was recently approved by the City Council.

“It’s an old program, but it hasn’t been around for a while so we are rekindling it,” Chief Alan Townsend said.

“They are a great program and a resource for the department. Especially as we are talking about the huge heroin problem we are having.  Poulsbo has a heroin problem right now and crimes related to it.”

The dog will be trained in locating illegal substances. Cash seizures for drug operations can become part of the gig as well, Townsend said.

“The dog has the ability to pick up the odor of whatever the drug might be, heroin or cocaine or methamphetamine,” he said.

The chief pointed out that with Washington's new legal marijuana laws, the new dog will not be trained to locate marijuana.

“We’re trying to use it as another tool,” Townsend said. “The dog won’t be marijuana certified because of the new law. That’s a problem with some of the old dogs.”

The price tag on a narcotics dog runs about $12,000, Townsend said. It covers the price of the dog, training it, and training the officer who will partner up with the pup.

The police department has reached out to local organizations, such as Walmart, for financial assistance to put toward the dog. The Poulsbo Host Lions Club presented the police department with a check for $1,000 for the K9 just last week.

Poulsbo’s dog will be chosen by a trainer in Everett. The K9 officer will train in drug sniffing tactics over the coming months.

Officer Nick Hoke will be assigned the new dog. Townsend expects Hoke to begin training with his new partner in the spring.

When the two are trained together, the dog will not only become Hoke’s partner, it will become a part of his family.

“That dog will go home and stay with him and live with him as a family member,” Townsend said.

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