By JENNA RHUDE
Moapa Valley Progress
Nearly 100 Cub Scouts along with members of their families, gathered in Logandale on Tuesday, July 31, for a K9 police demonstration. Officer Eddie Dutchover and his K9 partner Bailey were asked by Logandale Pack 26 to come and share what they do. And what the two partners do is incredible to watch!
Dutchover and Bailey have been working together at the Moapa Tribal Police for 7 years now, though Dutchover has had a long career in law enforcement for the past 20 years.
Bailey is a tan lab that was rescued from euthanasia by a program that helps find dogs for special purpose training. No one thought that she would make a good candidate for the K-9 program. That is simply because Bailey is extremely energetic. But the two have become a great working team.
Last week’s demonstration proved to be bittersweet for the partners. Bailey is 8 years old and will be retiring very soon.
The event began with a recounting of the incredible law enforcement activities that Bailey has been accredited with. In 2012 Bailey was part of the largest cash money seizure in southern Nevada, $1.8 million.
Bailey is trained to detect, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and heroin. During her 7 years with the Moapa Tribal Police, Bailey has brought in a total of $4.9 million in cash, 104.4 pounds of methamphetamine, 141 pounds of marijuana, 11 pounds of cocaine and 3 pounds of heroin.
Bailey is trained to sniff the air and go to the source. From there she detects the presence of illicit drugs. She notifies her handler/partner by sitting and staring at the area.
At Tuesday’ presentation, while Bailey was being retrieved from the vehicle, LVMPD Officer Chris Kohntopp took the time to hide “the box,” a registered training tool that holds illegal drugs for training purposes only.
It took Bailey and her partner only about 30 seconds to find where the “box” was hidden. Bailey sat and stared and waited for her reward.
Bailey isn’t rewarded with money or treats. She wants her toy.
“Come on dad, I found it, I want my toy,” Dutchover mimes.
After the reward is given, verbal praise and “loves” are also shared between handler and K9, to let her know she did a good job.
One of the boys asked the Officer if he and the dog get to keep the money they seize. With a smile, Dutchover replied, “no”. He explained that the money seized is used to provide police equipment, training, rehabilitation and prevention to the Tribal community under the Bureau of Indian Affairs guidelines. It is also put back into the community with events such as movie night and other youth programs.
With genuine emotion, Dutchover told the group that Bailey is truly a partner. She is not just a dog. They have depended on each other during life threatening situations.
“Does Bailey like going to work with you?” was another question raised from the crowd. Grinning ear to ear, like a proud father, Dutchover’s reply was simple, “yes. She knows when I grab her collar, which is adorned with her very own police badge, that it is time to go to work.”
Several boys were very concerned when they found out the K9 stays in the car, except when at home or during an active search. Officer Dutchover set their concerns at ease, when he explained that her K9 kennel is air conditioned inside his patrol car. The vehicle alerts him if it were to get too hot inside.
One of the boys asked if Bailey is an “attack dog” too. How fast can she run? Can she run faster than The Flash? Officer Dutchover was an excellent sport when answering all the questions. He told them that Bailey was a single purpose narcotic detection dog. While she can run very fast, faster at a younger age, she has never been faster than The Flash.
One child asked why they need a dog to find drugs. Dutchover responded that they respect the 4th amendment to the Constitution which protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. Officer Dutchover said they use a roadside interview and special investigation tactics to confirm or dispel if someone is engaging in criminal activity and take the totality of the circumstances before they ask for consent to search.
However, Bailey can sniff the exterior of a vehicle which is a free air sniff. Once Bailey alerts to the presence of illegal drugs, we have probable cause to search the vehicle. After she alerts to the odor of drugs, I will conduct a hand search of vehicle and locate either a hidden compartment that contains drugs or illicit US Currency.
Bailey was initially trained by Midwest K-9 in Des Moines, Iowa. Officer Dutchover drove to Iowa to get his new K-9 partner and they trained together for many long hours and got certified by United States Police Canine Association.
Bailey later got certified as narcotic detector dog by Utah POST standards based on reality-based format. Bailey would often train with LVMPD K9 Officers who have one of the best K9 programs in the United States.
Officer Dutchover told the group that there has to be trust in a partnership. The same applies to a K9 partnership as well. He pointed out the interdepartmental cooperation is needed on the barren stretch of the I15 corridor.
LVMPD Officer Chris Kohntopp told scouts that having Officer’s Dutchover and Bailey as a backup resource was comforting knowing that each department can work together for the greater good.
“It is vital that we are there to help and back each other up,” Dutchover agreed. “Whether you are Nevada Highway Patrol, BLM, LVMPD or Tribal Police, we are all here to help make our community safer. We all have the same end goal, to keep drugs off our streets and keep our community safe.”