The Bend Police Department announced Thursday that its new drug-detection K-9, "Zoey," and partner Officer Don Barber are newly certified and ready to hit the streets.
The pair passed certification standards Nov. 15 after an extensive four-week training period consisting of over 160 hours of specialized training.
Zoey came to the department in early October after she received basic training in the area of detecting drugs.
Zoey is a 2-year old Belgian Malinois originally from the Netherlands.
Barber was selected as Zoey’s handler due to his motivation in drug investigations and working with canines. He has not previously been a canine handler., the department said.
Officer Barber and Zoey are currently assigned to the patrol division. Zoey lives with Officer Barber and his family and will be assigned to him until her retirement.
Over the past year, the department has been looking for ways to expand the K-9 program to include bloodhounds and drug detection dogs. The purchase and deployment of police canines are very expensive due to training, specialized vehicles, equipment, food, and medical expenses.
Earlier this year, the Bend Police Department was able to acquire a bloodhound named “Ranger” for free from another police agency in the Willamette Valley that could not sustain the program. And on his very first day, he helped police find a missing senior who had wandered away from his assisted-living center.
Bend police Sgt. Nick Parker thanked the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office for their commitment to the success of the K-9 program. It provided two certified drug detection canine trainers that conducted the entire training for Officer Barber and Zoey.
"If it were not for their assistance and expertise, Bend Police Department would have been forced to acquire training out of the area at a great expense," Parker said. "This expansion likely would not have occurred under these circumstances."
Parker said the addition of Zoey, who had an initial cost of $6,500, means Bend PD now has a total of four dogs, including two patrol "apprehension dogs," Haras and Zlatan.