If you haven't already had the pleasure, meet Macy, the Elkins Police Department's newest four-legged officer.
The 18-month-old chocolate Labrador Retriever is wrapping up her second week of work as the department's drug and tracking dog, alongside her handler Cpl. C.D. Cross. And her boss, Chief Rob White with the EPD, couldn't be happier with her job performance thus far, he said during an interview Friday.
"On her very first time out, on her very first traffic stop, she hit on drugs," White said proudly.
Cpl. C.D. Cross with the Elkins Police Department performs a drug search demonstration with K-9 Officer Macy, the EPD’s new drug and tracking dog Friday afternoon. Eighteen-month-old Macy is a chocolate Labrador Retriever.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Katie Kuba
So, what exactly does it mean for K-9 officer Macy to "hit" on drugs?
According to White and Cross, Macy is a passive drug dog, meaning she does not physically search people. Instead, when she detects the presence of marijuana, opiates, methamphetamine or cocaine - or some derivative from one of those four drug categories - Macy plops down into a sitting position in front of the person or object containing the substances.
That action alerts her handler, Cross, that further investigation is warranted.
Macy will be scouting out high-traffic public areas and schools - she made her first visit to Elkins High School Monday, where she was "very successful," Cross said - and can also be used during traffic stops.
"Traffic stops are a big thing," Cross said, noting that the number of mobile "shake-and-bake" meth labs are on the rise, a problem he hopes Officer Macy can help combat.
Macy is also certified as a tracker dog, who can locate lost individuals or alleged criminals on the lam. She will eventually be visiting area elementary schools for show-and-tell sessions.
In mid-August, the police department purchased Macy for $4,500 from the Charleston-based business, Working Dogs, which equips police departments in West Virginia and across the country with police dogs.
Macy and Cross then underwent a period of training during which they had an opportunity to bond.
White said the money used to acquire Macy came from a private donor, who does not wish to have his or her identity disclosed.
"I handled it in such a way that the City does not even know who did that," White said.
Cross describes his canine co-worker as having a "strong drive" - or motivation to do her job well - and a sweet demeanor.
But despite the fact that Macy recognizes Cross as her master, "She's really well-liked throughout the whole department," White said. "She's become a buddy."
In other police department news, AAA recently awarded the EPD the 2012 Community Traffic Safety Platinum Award for the second consecutive year - the highest honor a police department can garner in that area from AAA. White said the department holds traffic safety classes for children, routinely runs DUI patrols and has worked with the state on where to place crosswalks in an effort to make the community as safe as possible.