Donations of $3,500 apiece from Gov. Bill Walker and Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott will help support costs of having a drug detection dog and handler work as needed to reduce the flow of illegal drugs into Cordova and Valdez.
Walker and Mallott announced the $7,000 donation in early December during the state’s opioid task force meeting in Anchorage.
Cordova retired its drug detection dog last year and Yakatat has been seeking additional grants and donations to defray costs of training a dog and handler, plus veterinary care for the dog.
During the task force meeting, members met Buddy, the Juneau Police Department’s drug detector German Shepherd, and his handler, Detective Mike Wise. Wise outlined benefits of having a trained K9 to sniff out illegal narcotics at the airport, post office and shipping ports.
Buddy has found nearly $660,000 worth of illegal drugs year to date in Juneau. The group observed Buddy finding and retrieving an “illegal” packet of drugs hidden before their meeting began in that room.
Earlier this year, Walker donated personal funds to support the purchase of a K9 unit. In July, the governor contributed $11,000 toward the $40,000 purchase of a new K9 for the Wasilla Police Department.