The Naperville Police Department has two new paw-fficers (officers) who are sniffing away crime in Naperville. German Shepherd Dax and Labrador Retriever Riggs are the latest to join the NPDs K-9 Unit.
Officer Matt Susnis and his K-9 Riggs, are assigned to the Investigations Division’s drug unit. Officer Alexis Hammer and her K-9 Dax, are assigned to patrol.
Instant Impact In The Naperville Community
The two K-9s joined the force with some everyday training under their collar. Once with their handler, more advanced scenarios got them ready for the field. Still, new to the job, memorable and important moments have already been made.
“Honestly, his first day out, we were able to do an exterior open-air sniff of a vehicle and was able to detect the odor of cocaine inside of the vehicle,” said Susnis. “And we found illegal ammunition as well. Just yesterday, he was able to do a currency sniff for a federal agency and detected the odor of narcotics on the currency as well. So these are some good moments for only having him for, you know, a couple of months at this point.”
While on patrol, Officer Hammer and Dax also have had some important encounters.
“We’ve done numerous vehicle sniffs so far and we almost had the opportunity to do an article search,” said Hammer. “That’s basically when a suspect flees an area and maybe they tossed the weapon and whatnot and we haven’t found it yet. So he’s able to detect human odor on articles, he’s able to detect human odor via tracks as well as narcotics sniffs and that kind of thing.”
First-Time K-9 Handlers
As the K9s become more experienced, so will their handlers. It’s both Officer Susnis and Officer Hammer’s first-time as canine handlers, but it’s always been Susnis’s goal to get there.
“It’s been my dream, honestly. Some people want to be astronauts and doctors. I wanted to be a canine handler with a police department. One of the police departments that I worked for prior to this was never going to have a canine program. So I had the opportunity to apply here and obviously work with him and apply towards this. So it’s a dream come true, yeah.”
The Naperville Police K-9 Unit now consists of four canines, with Riggs and Dax joining Rocco and Jill, both of whom were appointed to the department in 2017.
Naperville News 17’s Joe Kennedy reports.
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