Man's Best Friend Joins the Force

A rural county is fighting the war against drugs with the help of some newly sworn officers, but these aren't your typical deputies. These officers are something to bark about!

They may be man's best friend, but they're a criminal's worst enemy. After graduating from K-9 school in Tallahassee last week, Jake and Chase have been busy sniffing out drug paraphernalia.

"A trained police dog is a valuable tool in deterring the illegal flow of narcotics through our major highways and our county roads. We have 32 miles of interstate, which is considered by El Paso as the pipeline for narcotic trafficking," says David Harper.

The pipeline for drug traffickers is slowly closing in. Just one day on the job, these four-legged officers sniffed out more than 50 grams of marijuana and a smoking pipe in a car on I-10, and on Saturday the K-9 unit confiscated more than $9,000 from a suspected drug dealer.

"We miss hidden compartments or areas that drugs or large sums of money can be hidden in. With the advent of the canine and the sensitivity of smell it increases our ability to find some of the things we may overlook," says Bucher.

Now, Jake and Chase will be used as another tool to take a bite out of crime.

"We're going to do everything we can to make it tougher for them to operate. Seize vehicles, the cash, the drugs and get it off the street," says Bucher.

Sheriff officials say the K-9 unit was disband back in 2001 because it wasn't organized.