Know the K9s: Highway Patrol Police Service Dog Sadie

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Rapid City Police Department’s K9s aren’t the only dogs patrolling the streets in the area. Police Service Dog Sadie is handled by Trooper Michael Dale of the South Dakota Highway Patrol, and she also digs into local crime.

K9 SadieSadie is a little different from the RCPD K9s, because she’s trained for bomb detection rather than drug detection, as Trooper Dale explains.

“The Rapid City Police Department dogs are trained in narcotics and criminal apprehension. My dog Sadie is trained in bomb sniffing and criminal apprehension. So we have the bomb sniffing and the drugs taken care of, and then if we needed to use them to clear a house for a bad guy, we also have that capability.”

Sadie’s training is a little more time consuming though, because searching for explosives is a process that has to be done very quickly but also very carefully.

If a dog comes in with the narcotic side and bumps a bag of drugs, it’s not such a big deal. But if the dog comes in that’s looking for a bomb and bumps it, obviously a lot bigger deal, and that’s something that you don’t want,” he says.

Trooper Dale also mentioned that bomb detection dogs are trained on about five times more scents than drug sniffing dogs.

“She’s trained on 26 different explosive odors.”

He also added that a K9 will either be trained to detect drugs or bombs, but never both.

“The reason why we don’t cross train that is you don’t know if the dog would be indicating to a bag of meth or explosive device.”

With K9s trained in both of these areas as well as apprehension in the Rapid City area, interagency communication and teamwork helps city, county and state law enforcement officers bring dangerous problems to safe resolutions.

When something happens out here west river, it’s all hands on deck. We don’t pass the buck off, if you will, to another agency and say, well, this is in our area, this is your area. Collectively, we come together as a group and take care of the situation that needs to be taken care of,” Trooper Dale says. 

Highway Patrol also trains with Ellsworth Air Force Base K9s and the 28th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance disposal flight.

“It’s just kind of knowing what their capabilities are, what my capabilities are on the dog side of it, and then also bringing in the EOD folks because we work closely with them. If we find it, they’re the ones that are going to dispose of it or render it safe,” Trooper Dale explains. 

K9 Sadie 2Sadie’s career has been long, with two bomb-related deployments to Aberdeen on the Highway Patrol Plane.

There was some pieces of a device that she did find and locate the first time we were there,” Trooper Dale recalls. “The second time we were there, there were some fireworks that were stashed a little ways away from the car that she did locate, ultimately indicating to the car. The gentleman there had the intentions of doing harm to people, but we were able to get there and mitigate that before problems went any further.”

She’s also had a handful of criminal apprehensions, but has stayed sweet and friendly through it all, asking for belly rubs and playing with her favorite soccer ball.

You can over-socialize a dog and then they don’t want to go do their day job. So it’s finding the balance of what your dog will accept and what they won’t accept,” he explains.  “After we do apprehension training and while we are doing the training, I get out and socialize Sadie So she knows it’s okay to be around people and she can rub up against people and let them pet her.”

Sadie is nine years old and ready to start playing full-time when she turns 10.

That’s about the time they retire, and the reason why we do that is we want them to have a good afterlife, a good retirement. The Highway Patrol also provides a little retirement package for those police service dogs as well,” says Trooper Dale. “I equate it to this happy dog, happy life. She’s a great off duty dog. She has a bed next to my bed because that’s where she insists on sleeping. She’s a very playful dog.”

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