A graduation ceremony was held on Tuesday in Myersville, Maryland for new members of the state’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS). 

These four-legged members are the new faces of the Public Safety and Correctional Services Team. 

“No tool is as available to us then a K-9, ” said Maj. Mark Flynn, K-9 unit commander. 

After weeks of training, these K-9 patrol dogs and their handlers will play a huge role in prison safety by sniffing out drugs, cell phones, and other contraband. 

“When it comes to canine, canines are a big asset because it can eliminates multiple people to just one dog to do that job,” said Sgt. Daniel Harmon, DPSCS K-9 unit. 

In 2017, the K-9 unit was able to find drugs on a daily basis. About 365 CDS cases yielded 27 convictions and led to the recovery of hundreds of weapons and cellphones. 

Many of the dogs that graduated came from rescue organizations. Officials said this class produced two dogs that were rescued. More than 30 rescue dogs have graduated within the last 15 years. 

“We take them,” said Flynn. “We use there that energy, that natural prey drive to create a very good police drug detective or patrol dog. It is a win-win. The state of Maryland gets a dog for almost free. The rescue agencies found a dog that does not have to be euthanized.”

Officials said these new graduates are critical to keeping Maryland’s prisons safe. 

“Correction size wise, it keeps everybody in check, like check and balances. With the dogs there, there is less violence and there is less drugs. Without the dogs, we would have more drugs and more violence all the time,” said Sgt. Marlon Randall, DPSCS K-9 unit. 

The K-9 unit is dispersed throughout the 24 prisons in Maryland, spanning from the Eastern Shore to Cumberland.