New K-9 will help police track down guns, explosives

SPOKANE, Wash. - Bomb K-9 vo

The Spokane Police Department is getting its first explosives sniffing dog. Unlike patrol dogs, Ryker wouldn't think about biting a crook on the run. He's all about sniffing out the chemicals found in gunpowder and explosives.

It took more than 500 hours to train up Ryker to sniff out 20 different smells associated with bombs and ammunition. Handler Shawn Pegram casts out his dog on a leash and when Ryker alerts on an odor the officers sees a change in the K-9's behavior.

"He has a change in posture and his respirations increase, things like that. And when he gets to the source of the odor then he gives me that indication where he sits down," Pegram, an officer with the Spokane Police Department, said.

You'll see Ryker sweeping events like the upcoming MLK Unity March and when someone finds a suspicious bag or package somewhere the dog could speed up re-opening streets and buildings.

"When it comes to unattended items that don't quite rise to that level of suspicion the dog will make it a lot quicker to clear up those situations without having an extended call out," Pegram said.

Ryker can also find guns and ammunition and had only been on the force two days when he was used to search for evidence in a recent fatal shooting.

"That's one of the primary uses outside of the bomb squad use. He's gonna be on search warrants and crime scenes things like that, looking for ammunition, shell casings things of that nature," Pegram said.

Like the explosives disposal unit, Ryker is on-call 24/7. Because of his keen nose, Ryker is an investment that will likely save the police department a lot of time and money in the future.