News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, Nov. 16, 2012
AIKEN, S.C. -- A stick of Red-D Prime, a commercial explosive and some C-4 plastic explosive were two explosives hidden at Carolina Bay by Sgt. Selwyn DeLoach for the two newest members of the Aiken County Sheriff's Office to find.
"These Labs are adding a new aspect. It's our first time having Labs in our Police K-9 Unit," he said of the two new dogs.
There's Trigger the black Lab and yellow Lab Cooper. They're two dogs with professional noses.
"It is amazing how well these dogs can smell. They can smell things, you know, that are down to the milligrams of black powder, smokeless powder, C-4, things that we would look for," DeLoach said.
DeLoach picked them up near Fort Bragg a couple days ago. You could say they're veterans of the Marine Corps. They've completed dozens of missions overseas in Afghanistan sniffing out roadside bombs.
"They'd send them out 300 to 500 yards in front of the convoys, in front of the troops that are on the ground, and these dogs would alert to those IEDs," he said, adding that they've saved dozens of soldiers' lives.
Back here in Aiken, they're already showing what they're capable off. They sniffed out the C-4 DeLoach hid under a trash can at the park. DeLoach says they'll help change the face of crime-fighting in Aiken County.
"Everything we do right now -- we're trying to reduce violent crime. These dogs play a vital role in reducing violent crime because we're able to solve crime scenes as well as we're able to do criminal interdiction with these dogs," he said.
However, they serve another purpose, too.
"To bring them in the schools and let the kids interact with the K-9s, it opens door for kids to talk to us and be open with us," he said, adding that they'll be an essential piece of the department's community policing efforts.
Each dog would normally cost $30,000 a piece. The Aiken County Sheriff's Office got both of them combined for only $15 because the military is scaling down its war dog program there. DeLoach said the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department and other departments were up there getting dogs, too.
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