Posted: Sep 19, 2013 By: Lt. Randy Moffitt
Show Low, AZ — (Sept. 19, 2013) Efforts to curtail drug trafficking on the White Mountain Apache Reservation were stepped up a notch this week when the Navajo County Sheriff's Office presented the White Mountain Apache Police Department with a drug detection canine in partnership with the Arizona High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas Program (HIDTA).
Orras is an experienced drug detection dog that has assisted county law enforcement in a number of drug and currency seizures in northern Arizona. The Sheriff's Office transferred custody of the approximately five-year-old Belgian Malinois to Sergeant Ted Shaw of the White Mountain Apache Police Department at the Sheriff's Substation in Show Low this week.
“My entire career, my goal has been to work with a drug dog,” said Shaw.
The gift of Orras is the culmination of more than 18 months of effort by the Sheriff's Office, with the project led by Lieutenant Randy Moffitt, MCAT / HIDTA Task Force Commander, who sought funding to secure a dog and provide officer training and certification for the White Mountain Apache Police Department.
“It's rewarding to see the day come when we get to present Orras to the department,” said Moffitt. “By getting more drugs off the street, Orras and Sergeant Shaw can help reduce the crimes related to drug use in the communities they're serving.”
Moffitt worked with Arizona HIDTA to secure the funding for this project. The HIDTA program, created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, provides assistance to Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States.
“Projects such as these are so important for rural communities because drug traffickers are not just working in the urban areas of the state,” said Arizona HIDTA Director Elizabeth Kempshall, who was in attendance at the ceremony. “Randy and his task force have been working hard along the freeway to make this an undesirable area for drug trafficking.”
Speaking to representatives from the White Mountain Apache Police Department, Navajo County Sheriff KC Clark said, “I think it's going to open some eyes and surprise your community to see what that canine can find.”
“The relationship we've built with HIDTA and the White Mountain Apache Tribe over the years is continuing to grow and because of that, our communities are better places to live,” continued Clark. “Orras and Sgt. Shaw can go into the schools and help kids better understand how having Orras around is making their neighborhoods safer. Children and adults alike enjoy interacting with these dogs; they become a welcome part of the community.”
Shaw and Orras will receive training and certification in October.