Participating in the K-9 Unit training were, from left to right, Deputy Jerod Wolfe with K-9 Ron, Deputy Michael Gerholdt with Diesel, Officer Brandon Smolarz with Drax, Deputy A. Taylor with Murray, and Deputy Keith Sutton with Phantom

While the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the temporary closure of Goodwill Manasota's stores and offices, its corporate campus recently played host to a group of officers and service dogs from the Manatee County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit to train the dogs to sniff out “drugs” and “bombs.” For the recent exercise at Goodwill, officers planted the smell of drugs and bombs within the facility, waited 30 minutes, then sent the canines in to find the location of each.

Canines are used in law enforcement for searching wanted or fleeing suspects; apprehending fleeing suspects; crowd control; and public relations demonstrations for local schools and community organizations. The K-9's and their handlers receive intensive training to become certified to perform their assigned duties. Canines are also assigned to narcotics detection. Prior to being put into service, canines used for narcotics detection are trained and certified in locating hidden quantities of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.