Just a few weeks after commissioning 40 new troopers, the Washington State Patrol is gearing up to host yet another graduation tomorrow, but this time it’s for officers and their new K9 partners.
For 12 weeks, five handlers and their four-legged partners underwent more than 400 hours of extensive training to become certified in the detection of explosive odors.
The Washington State Patrol has one of the largest non-federal K9 programs in the country, with dozens of K9s deployed throughout the state. Some work as narcotic detection K9s, while others like this class, work specifically to locate explosives. Whether they’re searching the ferry docks or sniffing around the stadiums in Seattle, these K9s are always hard at work.
However, it’s not just the WSP who has K9s graduating this week. The Oregon State Police (OSP) and the King County Sheriff’s Office also sent their own K9 team to train with the WSP class. For OSP, this is their first ever Explosive Detection K9.
Meet the Newest Graduates
Sergeant William Anderson is a 10 year veteran of the State Patrol. Anderson was assigned to Field Operation Bureau for approximately 10 years and recently left Kennewick after being promoted to Sergeant on October 1, 2017. Immediately following promotion to Sergeant, Anderson was assigned to the Homeland Security Division, Region 1 Bremerton awaiting canine training.
Sergeant Anderson’s canine partner is K9 “Inka”, a 3-year-old, female German Shepard.
Trooper Dominic Ledesma’s is a 10 year veteran of the State Patrol. Ledesma was assigned to Field Operations Bureau, Bellevue. In November of 2017 Ledesma was selected and reported to the Homeland Security Division, Region 1 Bremerton awaiting canine school to start.
Trooper Ledesma’s canine partner is K9 “Aridon”, a 2.5-year-old, male German Shepard.
Trooper Scott Keffeler is a 17 year veteran of the State Patrol. Trooper Keffeler has been assigned to the Homeland Security Division, Region 3 in Marysville for the past 13 years.
Trooper Keffeler’s canine partner is K9 “Mia”, a 1.5-year-old, female Malinois and Shepard mix. This canine is Trooper Keffelers 3rd service dog.
Deputy Keith Martin, King County Sheriff’s Department- Deputy Martin is a 21.5 year veteran of the King County Sheriff’s Department. Deputy Martin was assigned to Sound Transit and SWAT prior to being selected as a canine handler.
Deputy Martin’s canine partner is K9 “Sooner”, a 2.0-year-old, male, Black Labrador Retriever.
Trooper Justin Oxenrider, Oregon State Police Department- Trooper Oxenrider is a 14 veteran of the Oregon State Police. Trooper Oxenrider was assigned traffic law enforcement duties in the Northwest region of Oregon, prior to being selected as a canine handler. Trooper Oxenrider and his canine partner are assigned to the Oregon State Legislative Capital Campus.
Trooper Oxenrider’s canine partner is K9 “Arty”, a 1.5-year-old, male Labrador – coon hound mix.
K9 Program Origins
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. This will be the 24th Explosive K9 Detection Class to graduate from the program.