ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Ted Stevens Airport Police Department recently brought on their first ever narcotics K9 in an effort to clamp down on drug trafficking at the airport.
K9 “Skye” joined the department in November. The 2-year-old German Shepherd was born in Budapest and eventually ended up at a training center in Alabama after being identified as a potential police dog.
It was in Alabama where Skye met her handler, Anchorage airport police officer Catherine Scott. The two completed several weeks of training together before starting work in Alaska.
“She’s a really high drive dog,” said Officer Scott. “Whenever I take her out of the vehicle she always wants to go to work. She’s constantly waiting to work.”
Skye is trained to indicate and alert police on the odor of narcotics, and she demonstrated her skill during her first week on the job, when she sniffed out two ounces of heroin in someone’s luggage that was heading to another Alaskan city, where its street value would have been about $50,000.
“She’s been very successful,” said Scott.
In addition to her handler training, Officer Scott also recently completed a tactical K9 casualty care course where she learned how to provide emergency medical care to Skye in case the K9 is injured in the line of duty, an unfortunate situation that a few K9 units in Alaska have had to face in recent years.
Scott carries a full first aid kit for the dog in her patrol car. One of the most important items included in the kit is a Narcan nasal spray, in case Skye gets exposed to dangerous opioids like heroin or fentanyl while searching for them. All the items in the first aid kit were donated, Scott said.
While this is Skye’s first job with law enforcement, it’s also Scott’s first time working with a K9, something she’s wanted to do for years.
“Working a K9 is like having the dog complete and algebra test while running a marathon,” Scott said, borrowing a phrase she heard from another K9 handler in Alaska.
“It’s a lot of work for these dogs, but they love it and it’s what they live for.”