CHESAPEAKE, Va - On July 1, Virginia’s new law to legalize adult use of marijuana will go into effect. The legislation is impacting the Chesapeake police department and their four-legged officers.
The new law means Chesapeake’s K9 unit will have to take marijuana out of the K9 curriculum.
"The current dogs are certified through marijuana so those dogs will not be able to be used for narcotics detection come July 1st," Sargent Eric Samuel's with Chesapeake’s K9 unit said.
Sargent Samuel says they retired two K9s that are primarily used for marijuana. Now the department is training three K9s at their police training academy to detect other drugs.
"They’ll be trained on cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine and heroin," Sargent Samuel said.
K9 Buzz is new and is being trained to smell narcotics from the outside of a car.
Sargent Samuel says other K9s that were trained to smell marijuana are being reassigned to other departments.
"The remaining dogs will just be patrol and utility until they retire," he said.
He says dogs that were previously trained to smell marijuana will be phased out.
"Over the couple of years, they will retire out and the new dogs will be trained on patrol and narcotics. They will be trained on drugs other than marijuana."
Officer James recently had to retire his dog who was trained to smell marijuana. He’ll soon be training his new K9, Bono to detect narcotics.
"He’s a super sweet dog," Officer James Duncan said, a Chesapeake police officer and K9 trainer.
Sargent Samuel says once K9 training is complete, they will have a graduation in the fall, and that’s when they’ll go out and do police work.