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Vermont State Police Welcome Newest K9 Member

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Ten-week-old Loki, a Plott hound, will specialize in tracking missing people and fugitives from the law. She is the state police's first hound dog in more than 30 years.

Det. Trooper Chris Hunt and Loki.
WATERBURY, Vt. — The newest member of the Vermont State Police will be making her public debut on Friday at the State House in Montpelier. 
 
Ten-week-old Loki, a Plott hound, will specialize in tracking missing people and fugitives from the law. She is the state police's first hound dog in more than 30 years.
 
She arrived in her new home in the Green Mountains last week accompanied by her handler, Detective Trooper Chris Hunt, who traveled to Houston, Texas, to pick up Loki from the breeder.
 
State police say Loki has long, floppy ears and likes frolic with co-worker but also has a "powerful nose for public safety."
 
Loki joins a K-9 Unit composed of 16 patrol dogs, four bomb-detection dogs and one arson dog. The patrol dogs are Belgian Malinois, German shepherds and Dutch shepherds, and the others are Labrador retrievers.
 
Her breed, Plott hound, is descended from German Hanoverian hounds brought to the United States by Johannes Plott in 1750. They originally were used for tracking big game and are considered energetic, athletic and intelligent. They are the official state dog for North Carolina, where they were first bred.
 
Adding a hound dog to the team will help keep the public safe, said Capt. Mike Manley, special operations commander.
 
"We are always looking to enhance our capabilities and the service that we provide Vermonters," Manley said. "The biggest advantage to having a Plott hound is that they can track old scents. These hounds can track scents that can be nearly a day old. For us this is all about tracking, having the best resource available to track lost and missing persons. You can't get any better than a hound for tracking."
 
Eventually Loki might also learn the specialized skill of locating deceased individuals, but at first, tracking will be her "bread and butter" and help round out the capabilities of the K-9 unit, he said
 
"Patrol dogs can do all types — apprehension, tracking, drug work — and our other specialized canines identify explosives and accelerants. Hounds really specialize in tracking. Patrol dogs at best can track scents that are a few hours old," said Manley. "Having Loki as part of the K-9 Unit is sure to increase public safety by giving VSP the best capability to locate missing persons and fugitives."
 
For Loki, named after the god in Norse mythology, her next few weeks will be spent acclimating to her new surroundings. She will begin 15 weeks of training in early March with the New Hampshire State Police, an agency that currently has two Plott hounds on its K-9 detail. Her training will include obedience, tracking based on scents on the ground, evidence recovery, and searching wide areas using scents in the air.
 
Once training is complete, Loki will be based at the St. Albans Barracks, where Hunt is assigned. They will be available to respond statewide. If all goes well, Loki might have some company in the future as the state police considers adding more hounds to the K-9 Unit.
 
Visitors will be able greet and pet Loki — subject to her tolerance for excitement — in the Cedar Creek Room at the State House on Friday, Feb. 7, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and again on Tuesday, Feb. 11, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the front sally port at the Vermont State Police Barracks, 2777 St. George Road, Williston.
 
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