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Idaho police department gets its first K-9 program

3-year-old dog donated to the Wendell agency

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WENDELL, Idaho (AP) — A 3-year-old Belgian Malinois has joined the Wendell Police Department, giving the agency its first K-9 program.

Iron Mountain Kennels of Shoshone gave Kena to the police department. Officials say Kena will help them apprehend suspects and sniff out drugs.

"Once she is totally in-service, Kena is going to be an invaluable addition to our force," Police Chief Kirtus Gaston told The Times-News. "She can assist in narcotics searches, apprehension and tracking. I think that every department, nationwide, should have a dog on their force. We are excited to finally have one."

A dog like Kena usually costs about $2,700, but officials said she's worth more than that with the training she has already received.

"She is a good addition to the force," said Wendell Mayor Rex Strickland. "Hopefully when they can use her to her fullest capacity we will be able bring the drugs to a stop. She is another tool we can use."

Kena joined the force two weeks ago, and is about 60 percent trained. Sgt. J.R. Gregory is her handler.

"This a first for me," Gregory said. "The bonding is taking a while, but we're getting there. Having her in the car is great too. She really is your partner. She's a working dog so she can't come inside, but she does go home with me at night and I take care of her."