FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: October 17, 2022
Contact: Christine Duplan, Public Information Officer
SUMMIT COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE ADOPTS K9 NARCOTIC DETECTION AND INTERDICTION TEAM
SUMMIT COUNTY, CO – The Summit County Sheriff’s Office is proud to announce its newest member, K9 Baby “Babe” Blue. Babe is a one-and-a-half-year-old German Shorthair Pointer, originally from Hungary. Babe joins her handler, K9 Technician Sarah Frost, to form the Summit County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Detection and Interdiction Team. Babe obtained her initial training through Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, Indiana, a prestigious K9 training facility providing training services for over 5,000 police and military service dogs throughout the United States. Technician Frost and Babe are currently state certified in narcotic detection and will receive national certification later this year.
The purchase of Babe was made possible, thanks to a donation from a member of the community. This generous contribution made it possible for the Summit County Sheriff’s Office to reestablish the K9 Program, which was discontinued in 2019.
The Summit County Sheriff’s Office K9 Program was first established in January of 2007. The program consisted of a K9 Deputy and a dual-purpose canine. Dual-purpose canines are fully trained police service dogs, trained in bite apprehension, building and area searches, tracking, and narcotic detection. The program eventually grew to two K9 Deputies, with two dual-purpose canines. Although the canines were trained to serve multiple purposes, the program focused on narcotic detection, interdiction, searches and seizures. The program remained a success until May of 2019, when the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that a sniff from a drug-detection dog that is trained to alert to marijuana, constitutes a search under the Colorado Constitution. That sniff can detect lawful activity, namely the legal possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults twenty-one and older. At the time of the court’s ruling, the Sheriff’s Office canine that was in service was trained to detect marijuana. In September of 2019, founded solely on the court’s ruling, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office was left with no option other than to disband the K9 Program.
Since the disbanding of the K9 Program, Summit County law enforcement agencies have observed a dramatic rise in narcotic sales and distribution and other drug related crimes within our schools and community. During the same period, Colorado law enforcement agencies with existing K9 Programs engaged in narcotic detection and interdiction, observed an impact on the reduction of narcotic sales, distribution and other drug related crimes. With the assistance of Babe, K9 Technician Frost will be working with local, state and federal partners in conducting drug detection and interdiction operations within Summit County, in an effort to stem the flow of illegal narcotics and illicit funds gained from the distribution of narcotics.
Babe is a fully trained and certified single purpose police service dog. Babe is able to detect narcotics (not including marijuana), conduct building and area searches and has tracking capabilities.
“The reestablishment of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Detection and Interdiction Team demonstrates to our community that we are taking the drug and overdose crisis seriously. The program will primarily focus on narcotic detection and interdiction but will also serve to promote positive law enforcement interaction with students in our schools and at community events,” said Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons.