DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) - A German Shepherd that can detect all kinds of explosives is now a member of the Stephens County Sheriff's Department.
Mike is an 8-year-old German Shepherd who is certified and fully trained to detect explosives. Mike went through months of training to be nationally certified. When he gets to a scene where there is a potential explosive, his handler will walk him around the area until Mike smells an explosive. He'll then lay down in the area and get rewarded with his toy.
Mike is trained to locate anything from gun powder to plastic explosives and everything in between. That includes ammunition, guns and even fireworks.
"Hopefully we never use him much but when we do we've got one or if we have a call for it at one of our schools or anywhere a bomb threat comes in, we can clear that area quickly and maybe save some lives," said Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney.
McKinney said the department has had a K-9 program for years but it has been limited to patrol and narcotics. He said they began seeking out an explosive detection dog and ultimately had one donated by Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio.
"We were also assisted by Fort Sill, they gave us some techniques we could use, helped us with the detection scent devices they have access to and did give us a lot of help in getting this animal to the place it is now," McKinney said.
Mike started with the department in August and lives full time with his handler, Stephens County Sheriff's Deputy Timothy Powell.
"He's stubborn...he's stubborn but he does a good job, he's very dedicated to his work and he loves to play. He's got a great personality, very friendly," Powell said.
Powell said Mike is the only explosive detecting K-9 in the Duncan area.
"The nearest explosive detection dog or team is Fort Sill and the other one is OHP. It cuts down the response time immensely. If we get one here in Stephens County I can be there in 15 to 20 minutes while they may be an hour out," Powell said.
Powell said that quick response time could be the difference between life and death.
"The quicker you can start the process and find the explosives the better off everybody is going to be in the community," Powell said.
Powell said Mike is very friendly and loves kids, but is also very protective. He said if he were to ever get into danger, he knows Mike would be quick to spring into action to help him.