LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — For the first time since 2008, the St. Martinville Police Department has an officer on four legs. His name is Ranger, and he is the new K-9 officer. His first day on patrol was September 13, and he’s already using his skills in multiple different crime scenes.”
“He’s got a large amount of skills probably better skills than most of us have,” admitted his handler Crime Suppression Unit Officer Brandon LeBlanc.
Ranger is what’s called a dual-purpose K-9 officer. He’s trained in tracking, criminal apprehension, and narcotics. With a sense of smell more than 10,000 times sensitive than humans, Ranger can quickly search buildings, accessories, vehicles, or wide-open wilderness.
While humans might notice if someone added a teaspoon of sugar to our coffee, this Belgian Malinois can detect a teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water, the same amount in two Olympic-sized swimming pools.
LeBlanc explained, “He takes a smell and dissects it pretty much. Like we smell something as a whole. He smells it as different parts.”
Ranger’s handler, officer Brandon LeBlanc, brought the idea of adding the K-9 to Chief Ricky Martin. The two-year-old dog has been trained since birth in Europe. Ranger and LeBlanc graduated a four-week training course together in mid-September.
“He’s a go-getter. For training he gave me a run for my money,” LeBlanc remembered before Ranger licked his face.
Though he’s friendly and relaxed at home, LeBlanc said Ranger should not be approached on the job without asking.
“He’s very handler protective,” LeBlanc warned. “He’s protective over me, so to say just come up to him and pet him, I would say, ‘No.”
Ranger is also trained in criminal apprehension, and although he doesn’t have the full suite of protective gear, yet, the department hopes to acquire more pieces down the road.
Ranger is going to allow St. Martinville Police to do things that they currently can’t without outside help such as search the schools and track down missing persons by scent now that they have this resource.
LeBlanc said allowing the dog to search areas, gives officers another safety measure when protecting and serving.
“He’s just like a person. I wouldn’t put him in harm’s way if I didn’t have to, but that’s what he’s bred for,” LeBlanc concluded.