Nero is a four-year old, three-odor drug detection Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd mix who has been on the Newport Police force since 2017. According to his handler Patrol Officer Hayden Randall, Nero is trained to find methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin.
Officer Randall reported that he is one of the biggest assets for overcoming the drug problem. In the first year working together, they have seized more than three pounds of meth off the street. Randall said Nero has been deployed to traffic stops, warrant searches, school searches, and parcel interdiction.
Police Chief Jason Malloy reported earlier this month to the Newport City Council that Randall and Nero have been deployed over 70 times resulting in over 51 drug arrests so far. Chief Malloy requested a second dog in order to have a dog on duty seven days a week instead of the current three or four days a week.
"There are rules we have to follow about how long we are able to hold someone until the dog arrives. Currently if a situation happens on the dog's day off then we would have to wait until he arrives and it is not reasonable that he could be at the scene within 20-minutes."
Officer Randall and Nero work 12-hour shifts three days one week and four days the next. Having another dog Chief Malloy said would provide drug dog coverage 7-days a week. A second dog is more opportunity for the department to be proactive and get drugs out of the community.
The City Council approved purchasing a second drug-detection canine, canine vehicle and accessories, relating to canine training and deployment, at its meeting on February 4. The cost is $57,000. City Manager Spencer Nebel praised the program as well.
"Overall, I believe this is a very successful program and I am supportive of expanding coverage and utilizing one of the other officers to become a canine officer with a new drug dog." The new dog will be another three-odor dog, but the breed is anybody’s guess.