The Bridgeport Police Department has a new member, Gretchen. After weeks of training she's ready to work.
After Dax retired in April, the Bridgeport Police Department was in need of a new K-9 unit and handler. Officer Shawn Fleming volunteered for the position to work with Gretchen, who is trained to find narcotics.
"This particular dog we had trained just for finding narcotics. In the past we've had dogs cross trained for tracking and patrol work but we wanted one just to concentrate on the drug work," said Chief John Walker, with the Bridgeport Police Department.
Gretchen is trained to find numerous drugs.
"She's trained to alert to the odors of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana," explained Officer Shawn Fleming, of the Bridgeport Police.
Fleming said after only three weeks the Belgian Malinois is doing well, but practice makes perfect.
"She's been doing pretty good. We found a couple little hits here and there, nothing big yet. Like anything it's a learning curve. We're both new to each other and we're a new team so we have to keep training and keep practicing," Fleming said.
Gretchen will be used in both patrol work and in schools. Chief Walker said this dog is friendlier than previous canine units.
"When you train a dog for bite work then it's difficult to deal with them, and you're afraid to take them around kids and that sort of thing, where this dog you can have it around other people," Walker said.
Even though Gretchen is a working dog, she goes home with Fleming at night.
"She does very well. She loves my family. She gets along really well with my wife and daughter and other little dogs" Fleming said.
Fleming said being Gretchen's handler is really hard work, but rewarding at the same time.