Washington State Patrol troopers from around the state will gather on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 to honor the agency’s K9 unit.
The WSP Homeland Security Division (HSD) will dedicate a new K9 memorial monument to Patrick, the first and only Washington State Patrol explosive K9 to die in the line of duty. His passing in April 2016 was a tremendous loss for the agency. Patrick was a three-year-old German Shepherd who worked in the Seattle area. You would often find him and handler Trooper Mike Allen patrolling Coleman dock. The pair started their career together at Lackland Airforce Base in Texas in October 2015. On December 10, 2015, Patrick and Trooper Allan became a certified K-9 explosive team and served the citizens of Washington faithfully. After a full day of work last April, Patrick suffered a medical emergency which he did not survive. Chief John R. Batiste said, “We lost a member of the WSP family who devotedly served the agency…Patrick’s explosive detection work helped keep tens of thousands of Washington residents and travelers safe.” Patrick’s service will now forever be memorialized on the monument at the Academy in Shelton, Washington.
Three new explosive K9s will also be graduating after 420 hours of extensive explosive detection training. Two additional K9s will also receive their re-commissioning. The Washington State Patrol’s Canine Training Unit has roots that date back all the way back to 1997- when the first two explosive detection teams were deployed. You can learn more about the agency’s K9 history here. After these new four-legged troopers are commissioned, the Washington State Patrol will have the largest non-federal K9 program in the country.
Let us introduce you to our newest K9s:
Hank and Trooper Darrin Fehlhafer
Trooper Fehlhafer comes to HSD with 7 years of K9 experience, he previously worked a Narcotics Detection K9 from 2001 to 2008. Hank is a 2-year-old Labrador retriever. Hank is Trooper Fehlhafer’s third K9 partner and they are assigned to Seattle.
Major and Trooper Bree McGee
Trooper McGee comes to HSD with 4 years of K9 experience, she had previously worked with a Narcotics Detection K9 assigned to District Two. Major is a 2-year-old German Shepard. Major is Trooper McGee’s second K9 partner and they are assigned to Bremerton.
Luna and Trooper Kevin Fortino
Trooper Fortino comes to HSD as a highly respected Trooper from the Target Zero Team in Tacoma, and is a Drug Recognition Expert. K9 Luna is a 1-year-old Labrador retriever. This is Trooper Fortino’s first K9 partner and they are assigned to Bremerton.
Trooper Seteve Garder and his K9 Mitchell as well as Trooper Rob Richey and his K9 Decker will also be recognized for their recommissioning. Trooper Gardner has 13 years of K9 experience as both an explosive and narcotic detection handler. He has been a WSP K9 instructor for more than 10 years. K9 Mitchell is a 7-year-old Labrador retriever with 5 years of experience. Trooper Gardner is being reteamed with Mitchell after he had previously given Mitchell up during Class 21 when the unit was short of dogs. Mitchell is Trooper Gardner’s third K9 partner. Trooper Richey has been an explosive detection K9 handler for 15 years and a K9 instructor for 13. K9 Decker is a 6-year-old German Shepard with 5 years of experience. Trooper Richey has been working with K9 Decker since his previous handler’s retirement earlier this year. Decker is Trooper Richey’s 5th K9 partner. Both teams are assigned to the HSD Training Detachment.