Posted at: 05/07/2014 4:22 PM
Updated at: 05/07/2014 10:42 PM
By: Maarja Anderson
The Duluth Police Department is welcoming a new officer to the force, and he has quite the nose.
Duluth K9 Abe will retire this month. His replacement is Kobra, a 2-year-old German Shepherd from Hungary.
He and his handler just hit the streets, and Kobra is ready to sniff out any trouble.
"He won't listen to anyone else but me," said Duluth Police Officer Kevin Tomlin.
Like most dogs, Kobra loves to play catch. He's 85 pounds of muscle and his training goes far beyond 'sit' and 'stay'.
"He's trained to locate explosives. Down in Alabama we trained him in 13 different odors, like TNT, dynamite," said Tomlin.
Tomlin is new to the K9 Unit, but he's a 22-year veteran with Duluth police. He met Kobra down in Alabama where they bunked together in a hotel for seven weeks during training.
Tomlin said, at first, Kobra was a bit intimidating.
"He was in a kennel and he was jumping up and down, and I'm like,'what did I get myself into? This guy's massive,' but now he's just a big puppy," explained Tomlin.
Now, they are partners 24/7, in the squad and at home.
After months of training, Kobra is now a dual-purpose police dog, trained to apprehend suspects and detect explosives.
Duluth has three other K9s, but they sniff out drugs, not bombs, so Kobra is the one and only.
"In the Twin Cities area there is probably a dozen or so, and then north of the cities this is the only explosives dog," he said.
Kobra will work some of Dultuh's biggest events, such as Grandma's Marathon and Fourth of July, with his nose to the ground.
With training, Kobra was $20,000. Because he is an explosives dog, Kobra's cost is covered by a Homeland Security port grant.
Tomlin said K9s are definitely an investment, but they are an invaluable tool for officers on the streets.