White River Junction VA police Sergeant Matthew Paquette has a new partner: Ripp, a black labrador retriever.
“A police K9 can save hours of man work when looking for a lost person or patient, increasing safety for those at risk. Ripp can rapidly find hidden drugs on property preventing their introduction to the campus. Just his presence alone is a deterrent to those behaviors and he acts as a force-multiplier for the police department.
Training helped build strong bond
“Ripp also gives us a tool that many departments in the community do not have, allowing us to create agreements with those departments further strengthening our partnership with local law enforcement.
“I knew the benefits a Police K9 could bring not to just our Veterans but our staff, which is why I leapt at the chance to make it happen.
“Ripp is ideally suited for K9 work at VA due to his temperament and strong work drive. He loves his reward (his ball) and only gets play time with it when he completes a trained task, be it drug detection, tracking to a person’s location, or finding an article dropped by a person.
“His training began prior to our meeting, but once we met we were submerged into an intensive program. This training program taught us how to read each other’s cues and helped us build our strong bond.
“His biggest skills are drug detection and human tracking. Watching him search a car is amazing. He moves around the car sniffing at all the seams and openings and, when he alerts, you just know he found something. And you better pay with his ball – quickly!
“Ripp has a very telling face. I can see when he is excited and when he has enough of something and wants to move on. He brightens everyone’s day and gives us peace of mind knowing that he can help in a moment’s notice.
“Canines have the ability to smell things 100,000 times stronger than a human and are able to follow the scent cone to accurately detect the scents origin.”