SD Highway Patrol bomb dog retires - KOTA Territory News

SD Highway Patrol bomb dog retires

Jet with his handler, Lt. Scott Sheldon ( Jet with his handler, Lt. Scott Sheldon (

By Terry Woster, Department of Public Safety

After a decade of sniffing out explosives with a nose-to-the-ground work ethic, Jet is retiring from the South Dakota Highway Patrol.


Jet, an 11-year-old Belgian sheepdog, began his career with the Highway Patrol in 2003 as a police service dog trained to detect the odors of many different compounds that could be used to construct explosive devices.


Jet officially retired on Wednesday, March 6. Gov. Dennis Daugaard issued a proclamation marking the occasion, saying "It is important to honor veteran police service dogs who are faithful, loyal and devoted to their responsibilities and provide a valuable service to their South Dakota communities.''


Lt. Scott Sheldon has been the dog's handler for the past decade.


"The K-9 explosives detection unit is different from the K-9 narcotics unit," Sheldon said. "We're not like the dope dogs. We don't want to find anything."


Jet has been used to sweep through the State Capitol building and other facilities and locations, says Col. Craig Price, superintendent of the Highway Patrol.


"He is also able to detect recently fired weapons at venues such as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally,'' Price said. "He has been a great partner to Lieutenant Sheldon and has helped with many seizures and the capture of criminals."


Price said the explosive-detection duties will be assumed by Trooper Michael Dale and PSD Raica.


Based in Pierre and deployed throughout the state, Jet completed protective sweeps of the State Capitol during legislative sessions, Supreme Court hearings and other official functions. Sheldon and Jet also responded to bomb threats and provided dignitary protection functions including assignments for the U.S. Secret Service, police and sheriffs' departments, schools and universities.


"Jet is a very social dog but knows when it is time to work,'' Sheldon said. "When he is off-duty, I give him his food and his kennel. He doesn't need to worry about obedience training after work. Just like any other enforcement agent with the Patrol, Jet becomes more focused when he is on duty."


Jet will be released from South Dakota service into the care of Sheldon and his family.


"I'll have to keep him in his kennel for a while when I am putting on my uniform,'' Sheldon said. "He knows when it is time to go to work, and now that he won't get to go with me, he'll be a little cranky."


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