KILO: A recognized abbreviation for kilogram; a unit of measurement in the metric system; 1000 grams;
Hodgeman County’s narcotics canine.
The Hodgeman County Sheriff’s Office acquired Kilo, a one-year-old Belgium Malinois in May and Kilo and his handler, Master Deputy Jeff Channell have undergone extensive training together to perfect their skills in narcotics detection. The pair graduated from the training program in late July and work together whenever Deputy Channell is on-shift. The pair is always available for callout to assist Hodgeman County officers and is made available by Sheriff Ron Ridley to surrounding counties if they need a canine with Kilo’s skill set.
Kilo was acquired through the use of diversion funds, which are not part of the Sheriff’s budget and have no impact on the overall county budget funded by the mil levy. “Diversion funds come from persons who are defendants in primarily traffic offenses or misdemeanor crimes and are paid so that the defendant’s offense can be diverted or set aside. In other words, if the person who takes a diversion successfully completes the terms of his or her agreement with the County Attorney’s Office, no conviction will be shown for the offense for which they were charged,” Sheriff Ridley explained. “Diversions are an agreement with prosecution and monies obtained through diversions are overseen by the County Attorney and their use is tightly controlled by statute”.
Sheriff Ridley and County Attorney Mark Cowell agreed that the purchase of the canine for $4,000 from Kansas Police Dogs, which includes the training of the dog and handler, was a wise investment for Hodgeman County, considering other single purpose dogs run from $7,000 to $10,000. “We were routinely using other agencies’ canine when one was needed, but often times one was not available or they could not respond in a timely manner. The Supreme Court has identified parameters for the timeliness of canine sniffs and having to wait on another agency’s dog often times eliminated the use of a canine when one was really needed”, Sheriff Ridley advised. “Having our own canine eliminates that wait and we can also offer our services to other agencies that might need a dog as well.”
Belgian Malinois are often the dog of choice for narcotics detection because of their size, temperament, and their excellent nose. A Malinois’ sense of smell is estimated to be at least 10,000 times greater than a humans and they can detect odors as low as 500 parts per trillion. An example that is more easily understood is while you might detect a spoonful of sugar in your cup of coffee, a canine could detect a single spoonful of sugar in one million gallons of water. “Another interesting aspect of a dog’s sense of smell that adds to its ability to detect narcotics is its ability to differentiate between mixed odors. While you might walk in the house and smell something cooking in the crock pot that smells great, Kilo could detect the odor of each of the individual ingredients of meat, potatoes, carrots, onions and all the individual spices too.” Sheriff Ridley advised.
Since their deployment at the end of July, the team has successfully detected marijuana and methamphetamine during several car stops which have resulted in arrests for felony drug possession and the seizure of several vehicles. The most recent was on August 14th when Aaron Lari, 33, of Dodge City was arrested for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possession of marijuana and drug tax stamp violations after he was found in possession of a significant quantity of meth on a car stop. Information gleaned from his arrest by Hodgeman County led to a search warrant being executed at a residence by Dodge City Police Department, who is a partner with the Sheriff’s Office in the Southwest Kansas Drug Task Force. During that search, a large quantity of methamphetamine, marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms (a hallucinogenic) and drug paraphernalia were seized along with cash, other vehicles and firearms. Lari is currently in Hodgeman County Jail on $75,000 bond and charges in Ford County are pending at press time.