CHEYENNE – For a second time in four years, Wyoming Department of Corrections Sgt. Jory Shoopman and her Narcotic Detection K9 took “Top Dog” at a regional certifying course for the United States Police Canine Association.
Shoopman and K9 Hunter placed first overall in the Detector Trial category for Region 14, which consists of Wyoming, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and Hawaii. Shoopman and Hunter achieved a near perfect score of 196.33 points out of a possible 200. The certification trial was held in late April in Woodland Park, Colorado. For their achievement, Shoopman and Hunter received the 2019 Kyle Hall Memorial Award for Outstanding Narcotic Detection Score.
The utilization of K9s represents a highly cost-effective and reliable asset in detecting the presence of illegal narcotics and preventing such drugs from entering WDOC facilities.
WDOC has two K9 teams assigned to the department’s Investigative Services Unit (ISU). Shoopman has handled Hunter for four years, and Sgt. Randy Speiser has handled K9 Copper for 2 months. Hunter and Copper are Labrador mixes. They were obtained by WDOC through an organization called MidWest K9, which specializes in providing basic narcotic detection services to rescue dogs identified as candidates for the program.
In addition to detecting drugs inside Wyoming’s prisons, the WDOC K9 Unit provides support to local law enforcement, probation and parole agents and other community organizations when requested. Hunter and Copper are trained to detect six types of narcotics: Marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, heroin and mushrooms. Both K9s are trained for the single purpose passive detection, meaning they are not trained to track or attack.
In order to receive initial WDOC authorization for USPCA accreditation, K9 teams must go through 360 hours of training and practice. Shoopman and Hunter received their initial certification in 2016 and came in first place that year as well.