WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 17, 2010, 09:00 AM

New K-9 unit to help Wilkin County authorities track narcotics and criminals

Breckenridge, Minn. (WDAY TV) - Authorities in Wilkin County have a new crime fighting tool that will help protect people and communities against criminals. The Breckenridge Police Department is adding a K-9 to its staff; the first such animal in the county.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

Two year old Kino (key-no) is no ordinary police dog. In fact, he originally trained for war. The black lab had a difficult time tracking bombs, so now, he'll track narcotics, criminals, and missing people.

By first account, you can't tell this police dog is new. Look at him go, sniffing around already, this just day three of training.

“It'll be nice to get some bad guys off the streets.”

Officer Patrick Kirsch has been with the Breckenridge Police Department for 10 years. Never before has he had a partner like this.

“It'll be a little more added responsibility, but it'll be fun.”

Kino is training to track down offenders and drugs, like meth, marijuana, and cocaine, an ever growing problem in Wilkin County. It's seen a spike in drug issues, but few arrests.

“We want to not grow the department, but we want to grow what we can do for the citizens.”

The city has tried proactive education in schools. That isn't working well.

“At some point, you have to turn the page with enforcement.”

Kino is no stranger to training. He's a former military dog, one of about 600 used to find bombs in Afghanistan or Iraq. His playful approach didn't cut it.

“He likes to what they call, aggressive detection. When he detects something, he likes to scratch at it and get at it, with which bombs you just sit.”

The department adopted Kino in Texas through the Military Working Dog program. He's now on payroll here and will soon be fighting crime.

“He knows what he's doing and he's doing an excellent job.”

Kino is expected to finish training, then test, and become certified by Tuesday.