New Partner Barks

When Tracey Breeden meets her new partner next week, the response greeting might be a bark.
That is because Tulsa County Sheriff’s deputy new partner is a Labrador Retriever trained to detect explosives.
Breeden’s duty station will be participating in an intensive 10-week training with her new partner at Front Royal, Va., that will conclude with graduation on Dec. 8.
There are no weekend breaks, no holidays. That means she will not be home for Thanksgiving.
When they return as a team from the 10-week training program at Front Royal, just outside Washington D.C., they will be part of an ever-growing crime fighting effort, not only in Tulsa, but throughout the region.
The Tulsa County Sheriff’s office, with the assistance of the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Service, received a grant which paid for the dog and its training.
The team’s focus will be on explosive detection and they will be seen at major events, patrolling Tulsa County buildings and participating in education programs.
The beat includes a future presence at the Tulsa State Fair, the upcoming PGA tour and around the Tulsa County Courthouse, especially when a major trial underway.
When Breeden meets her new partner, she will learn its name. At this time she doesn’t know whether it will be a male or female animal.
These dogs originally were intended to be service dogs for the blind, she said. But for some reason they were not compatible for that program. They were recruited for service by the ATF where they are a good fit. Even now, the dogs are being trained to detect 19,000 different types of explosives listed in five different groups.
Currently, the ATF trains dogs for 13 other countries. There are more than 300 dogs world-wide that have been trained. Of that number 88 are on duty in the U.S.
When Breeden returns to Tulsa with the Labrador, it will become part of a household of dogs which already includes a St. Bernard and a Chihuahua.
But the Tulsa County Deputy Sheriff will find herself in a much different role. She will be on 24-7 duty, ready to assist not only local law enforcement, but also state and ATF personnel wherever needed.
‘‘That was part of the deal with the ATF grant and training,’’ Breeden continued.
Tulsa’s new canine will have special training because it will be able to detect firearms carried by a person as well as ammunition that has been buried, she said.
‘‘I am extremely excited about this opportunity to work not only with the sheriff’s department, but also the other agencies,’’ Breeden added. This includes federal law enforcement.
Breeden, who has been with the Tulsa County Sheriff’s office for approximately 18 months, served with the California Highway Patrol for three years. While there, she received training in identifying explosives because part of her beat was the Golden Gate Bridge, listed by the FBI as one of the top five terrorist targets in this country.
‘‘I originally am from Mayes County and attended Oklahoma State University with a degree in psychology. Then I attended Oral Roberts University, earning a degree in counseling,’’ she said. ‘‘I have been away from Oklahoma for nearly 10 years, returning when my husband received a promotion with his company.’’
The return to Tulsa and northeast Oklahoma has brought Breeden closer to her family.
But she also is proud to be part of the sheriff’s office as efforts are made to make the area a safer place to live.

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