The Kill Devil Hills Police Department has a new, four-legged member.
They announced on their Facebook Wednesday that they have added two-year-old, 71 pound K-9 Zar to their team.
Zar is considered a “green dog,” which means he was chosen specifically for police duties and has not worked in other fields. He can track down lost people or people fleeing police, detect narcotics, search for things and apprehend people.
His training to become a patrol dog was tough and, according to Kill Devil Hills police, 25 percent of the dogs in his class were not able to complete the training. Those dogs will likely become single purpose police dogs or choose another career path.
Zar’s handler, Officer Steven Gulludge, has been with the KDHPD since 2015 and has always wanted to become a K-9 officer.
“I have always had a special passion for the K-9. I guess I first became interested just from watching police programs and seeing all the things the dogs could do such as tracking and narcotics detection. I felt it was something I’d want to do that would be very rewarding,” said Officer Gulludge in a press release.
K-9 handlers pick their partners and together they go through an intense, eight-week training course.
“Having a K-9 partner is nice, but there is a lot of hard work involved,” said Officer Gulledge in a press release. “We train with the Dare County K-9 and other handlers at least once a week and go over all the fundamentals of obedience, tracking, narcotics detection and apprehension work. Zar is trained to only listen to me, so I’m solely responsible for making sure he stays sharp. We train a minimum of eight hours a week, but he does get breaks where he can just be a dog.”
The KDHPD asks that if you see K-9 Zar out and about, please ask before you pet him or introduce yourself to him.