The Juneau Police Department’s new narcotics dog Dax smiles for a photo Wednesday afternoon outside of the Juneau Police Station. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

The Juneau Police Department’s new narcotics dog Dax smiles for a photo Wednesday afternoon outside of the Juneau Police Station. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Buddy has a friend: Police department welcomes new narcotics K-9

New pup joins JPD’s canine program as longtime officer Buddy nears retirement.

The Juneau Police Department has recently welcomed a new officer to its force — a 1-year-old yellow Lab named Dax.

“Getting Dax, we’ll be able to stay up and better combat the drug problems we have in Juneau,” said JPD detective and K-9 handler Mike Wise on Wednesday. “Having an easy transition to bring another dog in is great.”

Dax will serve as the department’s upcoming narcotics dog, as veteran K-9 officer Buddy, a 9-year-old German shepherd, approaches his retirement after a dogged career. According to Wise, Buddy has been nothing but welcoming to his new colleague.

The Juneau Police Department’s new narcotics dog Dax smiles while getting pet by JPD spokesperson Lt. Krag Campbell Wednesday afternoon outside of the Juneau Police Station. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

The Juneau Police Department’s new narcotics dog Dax smiles while getting pet by JPD spokesperson Lt. Krag Campbell Wednesday afternoon outside of the Juneau Police Station. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

[K-9 keeps nose to grindstone as he nears retirement]

“He’s fantastic with him, they love each other,” he said.

Wise said since welcoming Buddy as the department’s single-purpose narcotics dog in 2015, he has played a critical role in drug control in Juneau over his eight-year stint. Since his addition to the department, it’s estimated that Buddy has assisted in the seizure of around $15 million worth of narcotics.

Buddy, Juneau Police Department’s senior narcotics dog, plays in a snow pile outside of the Juneau Police Department in March. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

Buddy, Juneau Police Department’s senior narcotics dog, plays in a snow pile outside of the Juneau Police Department in March. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire File)

Wise said he is excited to see Dax’s potential in Juneau as well. Both Buddy and Dax are certified and trained to detect methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and derivatives, including synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, while being able to ignore things like marijuana.

Dax has received additional instruction to detect phencyclidine, commonly known as PCP, and methyl​enedioxy​methamphetamine, commonly known as MDMA, and is being trained for scent-trailing and article searches.

Buddy and Dax currently live together with Wise and his family at their home when they’re off duty. However, when it’s time to train they will work separately with Wise day in and day out to keep their noses in tip-top shape. The trio works closely with the Southeast Alaska Cities Against Drugs task force, a regional anti-drug task force composed of municipal police departments across Southeast Alaska.

Wise said it’s difficult to say when Buddy will officially retire, saying it largely depends on Dax and how quickly he can become sufficient to be in the field.

“He’s still very puppyish, so we are just continuing to work toward getting to the point where Dax is ready to be up and on his own,” he said.

The Juneau Police Department’s new narcotics dog Dax smiles while playing with JPD spokesperson Lt. Krag Campbell on Wednesday afternoon outside of the Juneau Police Station. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

The Juneau Police Department’s new narcotics dog Dax smiles while playing with JPD spokesperson Lt. Krag Campbell on Wednesday afternoon outside of the Juneau Police Station. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Wise described Dax as a bit chaotic, but a very happy dog.

“He’s seriously like a baby,” he said, laughing. “You cannot take your eyes off of him — he is just all over the place.”

JPD spokesperson Lt. Krag Campbell said beyond Buddy’s retirement, another reason why the department decided to continue growing its K-9 unit is because of the support the dogs received from the community.

Before Buddy joined JPD, more than 20 years passed in which the department’s canine program remained inactive. But, thanks to community support and funding via the Juneau Crime Line in recent years, Buddy and Dax can have their own kennel “office” just outside of the department.

The Juneau Police Department’s new narcotics dog Dax smiles while sitting in his kennel Wednesday afternoon outside of the Juneau Police Station. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

The Juneau Police Department’s new narcotics dog Dax smiles while sitting in his kennel Wednesday afternoon outside of the Juneau Police Station. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

The Juneau Police Department’s new narcotics dog Dax jumps up in his kennel for pets from JPD detective and K-9 handler Mike Wise on Wednesday afternoon outside of the Juneau Police Station.

The Juneau Police Department’s new narcotics dog Dax jumps up in his kennel for pets from JPD detective and K-9 handler Mike Wise on Wednesday afternoon outside of the Juneau Police Station.

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651) 528-1807.

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