On the job with Calcasieu's K-9 Units

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - They may look man and his best friend, but Sgt. Stuart Henderson and K-9 Deputy Perro are more than friends - they're partners in fighting crime. Traveling up and down on Interstate-10 they're looking for drugs.

"We run the roads everyday. Monday through Friday and on weekends," said Henderson.

Perro is a Belgian Tervuren and like most drug dogs was trained overseas.

"Most of them are trained in the for scents and that's marijuana, cocaine, meth and heroin," explained Henderson.

All are smuggled along I-10's drug corridor. The drugs usually travel east, while the money travels west.

"You never know what you are going to find out here," said Henderson.

Our first stop is to assist fellow K-9 units who pulled over an 18-wheeler with two different license plates. According to the driver he's headed from Tennessee to San Antonio. Out of an act of caution, the officers did a thorough check of the big rig, but found nothing. The driver was given a warning and sent on his way.

"That's nothing out of the ordinary we might go days and weeks without finding anything just depends," said Henderson.

While they came up empty on that stop, Sgt. Henderson recalls one lucky day when a traffic violation and a uncooperative driver turned into a huge find, "When the driver refused to give us consent, I utilized Perro on the vehicle and he responded to narcotics and in the trunk we found 61 pounds of marijuana."

Henderson says for every find they know they are just scratching the surface. He says sometimes it's easy, especially when the driver's nerves give themselves away.

"You might stop a guy for failure to use his turn signal and he changed lanes and when you confront them with that they are so nervous they are apologizing for violations they didn't even do. So you have to be able to pick up on that," said Henderson.

Stop number two: a black truck for wrong lane usage. After questioning he too is let go with a warning. A few more stops all yield nothing. And while it's been an easy day for Perro - tomorrow he'll be back on the frontline of the war on drugs.

Perro is just one of several drug dogs in Calcasieu Parish. All go through weekly training to keep them conditioned.

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