K-9 Officer Macy, of the Elkins Police Department, demonstrated her skills this week at the Elkins Rotary Club meeting to the delight of club members.
Macy, a chocolate Labrador Retriever, is trained as a passive alert dog, meaning the dog will not physically search people. Instead, when the dog detects the presence of marijuana, opiates, methamphetamine, cocaine or some derivative thereof, she will sit in front of the person or object containing the substances.
Macy, who joined the department in mid-November, is partnered with K9 handler Cpl. C.D. Cross of the Elkins Police Department. Cross started with the department in December 2007 and graduated from the West Virginia State Police Academy in April 2008.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Beth Christian Broschart
Cpl. C.D. Cross of the Elkins Police Department introduces Macy, K-9 officer for the Elkins Police Department, to the Elkins Rotary Club.
"I usually try to train with her quite a bit through the week," Cross said at Monday's meeting. "She loves to be loved on - that's the nature of chocolate labs.
"She loves to work. Everything she does is full bore. She has a real good nose and a high drive. That's one reason why we use chocolate labs. The drive on these dogs is unbelievable. They hardly ever get tired."
Cross said Macy lives with him in his home and accompanies him on all of his calls.
"Macy gets excited when we go out," Cross said. "She knows when the cruiser is going fast, and her tail starts beating. We stop somewhere and the door opens, and she is back there banging around in the cage. She won't get out and she moans and throws herself down in the cage."
Cross said when he is outside cutting wood or picking up sticks, Macy enjoys being with him.
"When I throw her a stick, she goes and brings it back to me," Cross said. "Then she has to go and pick up the biggest limb in the yard and bring back to me, too."
Cross said she was originally trained by Ultimate Working Dogs, a Saint Albans company. He said she was trained to find drugs by their odor.
"She finds odor but just because she sits on a vehicle, narcotics aren't necessarily going to be there," Cross said. "The odor (of narcotics) soaks into stuff. As long as she can still smell the odor, she will sit down. That doesn't mean the drugs are necessarily going to be there."
Cross said school kids love Macy. He cautioned parents to tell kids to be leery of possible portable meth labs.
"With the shake and bake meth labs, people will get the lab started, and they may put it in the dumpster by your house," Cross said. "So the cooking isn't on them. They know how long it takes to cook and they can go back then to check on it. Teach your kids if they see a bottle not to take the cap off because when they stick their nose to the bottle, the chemical vapors from within can destroy their lungs."
Elkins Rotary tin cup collections for July and August will be donated to the Elkins Police Department to help care for K-9 Officer Macy.