MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — The Martinsburg Police Department has added a new member to their police force, but he’s not like any other officer.
Even behind a mask, Martinsburg Police Chief George Swartwood was beaming ear to ear when his newest K-9 dog, Baf, entered his office.
“We look so forward to having our K-9 officer and our K-9 dog out in the streets helping protect us,” Chief Swartwood said.
Baf is almost 2 years old and is a purebred long-haired German Shepherd from Shallow Creek Kennel in Pennsylvania. He and his handler, Patrol Officer Aaron Miller, attended and completed their Canine Training Academy in December.
Ptl. Miller has served the Martinsburg Police Department for three years and is assigned to the Patrol Division. He is also a member of the Martinsburg Police Department Honor Guard, Special Response Team and an instructor at the Martinsburg Police Department Junior Police Academy.
Ptl. Milled explained that like other police K-9 dogs, Baf has a very special set of skills.
“His [specialty] is narcotics; so cocaine, heroin and meth is what he’s been trained in so far,” Ptl. Miller explained. “It allows us to conduct interdiction easier. Dogs have a much more powerful nose than humans so dogs are able to pick up on things that we’re not able to smell like illegal drugs or anything along those sorts.”
When Baf and Ptl. Miller are not out on patrol, Chief Swartwood hopes the new K-9 can get out and about in the community.
“It [Baf] re-emphasizes what we want to do with the Martinsburg Police Department: community policing,” Chief Swartwood stated. “Getting our dog out doing demonstrations in schools, churches, other kinds of community events to let everyone see our dog, to show off to our kids what we have with this police department.”
Ptl. Miller and Baf will be assigned to the patrol division, which is used to respond to incidents such as drug detection and seizure, suspect apprehension and article searches as well as school K-9 demonstrations and other public functions.
The new K-9 Dog was purchased with the approval of the Martinsburg City Council from the Drug Forfeiture and Seizure account. The price with training was approximately $15,000 and was paid in full by drug forfeiture money, or money that was confiscated from the illegal sales of controlled substances.