Indiana DNR Law Enforcement Division K9 Program Celebrates 25 Years and 2,300 Arrests
Catching poachers is central purpose of program; also works with law enforcement agencies to find people
In 1997, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) launched their law enforcement division K9 pilot program with only two teams, to track down and stop poaching.
Today there are 13 K9 teams, including one in Spencer County.
The program has contributed to 2,300 arrests from 8,200 deployments. DNR Law Enforcement Division Spokesperson Capt. Jet Quilin says it’s something to be proud of.
“We're just proud to be able to say that we started from nothing and now 25 years in, we have a successful program that is known across the country,” he said. “And we have requests from multiple other states who want to come here and train in our canine school.”
Quilin says they regularly train enforcement teams from out of state. “We had multiple states in this last school we had earlier this year, we actually had two canine handlers come in from Zambia to be part of our canine program.”
Quilin said their primary responsibility is resource protection. Namely, to stop poaching, which is the illegal taking of animals.
“…and a lot of times when our officers are out on patrol, they might come across a vehicle that shouldn't be where it is. And obviously, it's hard to locate those people that are probably dressed in camouflage and not wanting to be caught.”
These dogs are usually game dogs like Labradors and German shorthair pointers. They are trained to track animal carcasses, burned gunpowder and of course people and their personal articles.
For this reason Quilin says they’re often used by law enforcement for man-tracking. “But our dogs are not going to be detecting for any type of narcotic or anything like that.”
They also aren’t trained to bite and take down suspects.
The next training session will be this spring either in Orange County or somewhere centrally located inside Indiana.