Law enforcement officers say K9s play a key role in their departments and offer a variety of skills.
The Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Department is implementing new scent tracking tactics for its K9 Luke.
K9 Officer Luke and his handler Officer Eduardo Hernandez frequently train with different scent tracking procedures and have been for a year and a half now.
The department recently implemented a new way to track suspects or missing people after noticing Monday that K9 Luke was capable of more than originally thought.
“It opened our eyes to the capability of something we’ve had all along,” said Trempealeau County Sheriff Brett Semingson. “They were training yesterday over those multiple surfaces and we realized that the dog is very capable of tracking, no matter what the surface is.”
Hernandez says K9 Luke is used to sniffing surfaces in open rural areas. He said during the routine training, Luke was able to sniff a scent leading to a mock suspect over surfaces like blacktop and sidewalks.
“It just gives us that extra tool in our pocket,” said Hernandez.
During another training simulation Tuesday, K9 Luke followed the scent of a few articles of clothing for about an 8-block radius and in less than 10 minutes the mock suspect was found.
Hernandez said this has only been a training situation so far and they haven’t had to use his skill in a live experience yet. When the time comes, they say K9 Luke will be more than ready.