Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
New K-9 team to bring tracking, explosives detection skills
to DNREC Environmental Crimes Unit
DOVER (Sept. 11, 2015) – DNREC’s Natural Resources Police Environmental Crimes Unit has a new officer with unique skills – and four legs. K-9 Diesel, an 18-month-old, 95-pound German shepherd/Belgian Malinois specially bred for police work in Slovakia, was donated to the ECU by the Wilmington Kennel Club in January.
Diesel and his human partner, Officer Tyler Austin – the ECU’s first K-9 team – recently completed 12 weeks/480 hours of K-9 patrol training in obedience, tracking and protection at the Delaware State Police Academy in Dover. With this training, Diesel can track lost persons or wanted suspects who have eluded police.
“Diesel has a really good temperament for the job. He’s very intelligent and very good with people,” Austin said, noting that a seasoned Police academy K-9 instructor complimented his new high-energy partner while they were in training. “The instructor said Diesel is one of the most confident dogs he’s ever trained. He’s not afraid of anything.”
In September, Diesel and Officer Austin will return to the Academy for another 12-week, 480-hour session – Delaware State Police K-9 explosive detection training – to prepare Diesel to detect and alert on explosive materials, including discarded weapons and ammunition. With a total of 960 hours of training completed, Officer Austin and Diesel will be tested by the National Police Canine Association to earn national certification as a dual-purpose K-9 team.
“I have wanted to be part of a K-9 team ever since I started in law enforcement,” said Austin, a Delaware native who has been with the ECU for five years. “Diesel arrived in Delaware as a big puppy specially bred for police work and awaiting training. It’s very rewarding to train with him and watch him make the transition from regular dog to police dog.”
“Having a K-9 team as part of our Environmental Crimes Unit brings a new dimension and new options to the ECU’s versatility and effectiveness in investigating and solving environmental crimes,” said Patrick Emory, director of DNREC’s Office of Community Services. “We look forward to seeing what Diesel and Officer Austin can do once they finish training.”
DNREC’s Environmental Crimes Unit enforces environmental laws and regulations, investigates environmental complaints and violations, and prosecutes environmental crimes statewide. As police academy-trained, sworn-and-certified law enforcement professionals with statewide jurisdiction, ECU officers have the same powers of investigation and arrest as any other Delaware police. To handle the wide-ranging responsibilities of their job, ECU officers receive up to 160 hours a year of highly-specialized additional training. DNREC’s ECU also works with and supports DNREC’s Emergency Response Team and other first responders. To report suspected environmental violations, call DNREC’s 24-hour hotline, 800-662-8802.Vol. 45, No. 296