K9 with local police proves to be successful, department forms special task force
ST. ANTHONY — A K9 officer that was acquired by a local police department earlier this year is proving his worth after several significant drug busts. The dog is now part of a special task force.
K9 Blue has been a part of the St. Anthony Police Department since March and has helped not only the police department but other law enforcement agencies in the area too.
“We have gotten a lot of use out of our K9 assisting Teton County, Fremont County, Idaho State Police and Madison County,” said Hunter Gregory, a St. Anthony police officer. “We’ve put him to good use. We are definitely grateful for the support we have gotten from the community in getting him as well as forming a task force.”
Working to get K9 Blue was a big effort for the department that involved significant fundraising. The end result was the purchase of a dog that Gregory said would be trained and certified in narcotics detection and tracking lost children and vulnerable adults.
Gregory explained a new task force was formed recently called the Criminal Interdiction Task Force.
All of the members of the task force have specialized training in criminal interdictions, interviewing and advanced traffic stops. Gregory said the task force is under the St. Anthony Police Department and it’s made up of officers from the department as well as deputies from the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office.
Currently, there are four men on the team including Gregory with K9 Blue.
“Our focus is interdicting or stopping criminal behavior on the highway, and a lot of that happens to be drug trafficking. We have drugs coming from the southern border, coming up through Interstate 15, Highway 20 and they are going up into the state north of us and into Canada,” Gregory said. “So we are trying to intercept those drugs before they are dispersed in our cities.”
He said their department received a grant from Walmart in Rexburg to help fund the task force and provide training. They’ve additionally received funding from the city of St. Anthony.
Gregory said earlier in October, the task force partnered with Idaho State Police in an emphasis patrol.
“We were able to get some more meth, marijuana, and paraphernalia off the highway just in an eight-hour span. It’s been a pretty big success. A lot of it has been because of the K9s. We had two of their (ISP) dogs out with us as well,” Gregory said.
Gregory said the Criminal Interdiction Task Force has been able to find ecstasy, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana.
“We have had two task force members this year alone arrest two individuals for trafficking methamphetamine off of the state highway,” Gregory explained. “One of those was myself. We were only able to get that because of our K9. Otherwise, we would not have gotten those drugs. Now that we have a K9, we are able to make a greater impact on those things. The other one was from a traffic stop that turned into where the driver was arrested. The vehicle was searched…narcotics were found.”
Finding drugs is only part of what the task force does. They also focus on catching fugitives, sex traffickers, fraud, theft, and individuals driving under the influence.