FDLE Showcases K-9 Units in the ‘Dog Days of Summer’ Campaign

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) kicked off its “Dog Days of Summer” social media campaign this week and will run the promotion through Aug. 11.

The agency’s Dog Days of Summer campaign will celebrate the K-9 members of the agency and their handlers.

FDLE has K-9 units across the state, primarily working in the electronic and explosives detection areas.

The expression, “Dog Days of Summer” dates back to the ancient Greeks and Romans and references the stars, particularly Sirius, also called Alpha Canis Majoris or the Dog Star. Ancient Romans believed Sirius contributed to the sun’s heat and thus referred to this extremely hot period as diēs caniculārēs, or “dog days.”

During the campaign, FDLE will introduce its K-9 teams of dogs and handlers to social media followers.

Here’s a preview:

Meet Cache, a 19-month old black English Labrador. Cache is assigned to Special Agent Justin Gilmer and works out of the Fort Myers Regional Operations Center. Cache was donated to FDLE by Operation Underground Railroad and trained at Jordan Detection K-9. He is trained in electronic detection. He likes socks and chasing tennis balls. He is FDLE’s newest K-9, starting service on June 1.

Meet Maple, a six-and-a-half-year-old lab mix rescue that began her Electronic Storage Detection (ESD) canine training in March of 2019. K-9 Maple is assigned to Special Agent Stephanie Cassidy and works out of the Pensacola Regional Operations Center. She has assisted with cases involving internet crimes against children, terrorism, espionage, human trafficking, homicides, sex offender probation, etc.

Meet Layla, an American Labrador born in Utah. She was trained in electronic storage detection at Jordan Detection K-9s in Indiana. Layla was donated to FDLE by Operation Underground Railroad. Layla is partnered with handler Special Agent Ritchie Kaplan. Layla works out of FDLE’s Tampa Bay Regional Operations Center. She routinely responds to search warrant calls, and seeks and finds electronic items that contain media contraband and child sex abuse material.

Meet Rocket, who joined FDLE in November 2021 after a career change from a service dog to an electronic detection K-9. He was donated by Operation Underground Railroad and was trained by Jordan Detection K-9 in Indiana. Rocket is assigned to FDLE’s Tallahassee Regional Operations Center and assists with search warrants, victim interviews and demonstrations. Rocket is assigned to Special Agent Aida Limongi and the Cyber Crimes Squad but is able to assist with searches for any squad or law enforcement partners.

Meet Laya, a golden retriever born in Colombia. Laya is assigned to the Capitol Police in Tallahassee. Laya is imprinted on a variety of military grade and homemade explosives. Laya is assigned to handler Officer Travis Tharp. They focus on detection of explosive materials, the recovery of firearms and ammunition and the recovery of evidence related to post blast incidents. Capitol Police’s K-9 units also assist with the Protective Operations Section of FDLE. Laya enjoys sunbathing, rolling in the grass, and a good game of fetch with her frisbee.

Meet Babs, a yellow Labrador retriever. Babs is assigned to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Miami office and regularly works with FDLE agents on officer-involved shooting investigations. Babs is assigned to ATF’s Zane Dodds, a 25-year veteran with the agency. Babs is one of only two ATF explosive detection canines in Florida. Babs is proficient in finding firearms, ammunition, spent casings, and explosives.
Meet Gatsby, a yellow Labrador retriever. Gatsby is assigned to Officer William Boyer with the Capitol Police. Gatsby searches vehicles and mail trucks entering underneath the Capitol. He also searches exteriors and interiors in the state offices surrounding the Capitol. The K-9 team supports surrounding law enforcement agencies in need of an explosive detection K-9. Gatsby has assisted the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office, FSU Police Department, and FAMU Police Department.

Meet Baxter, an English Labrador retriever. Baxter is assigned to Orlando Regional Operations Center Cybercrime Task Force Agent Georgie Torres. He is trained in electronic storage detection and has been in service for two years. In that time, Baxter has been deployed on more than 100 searches. Baxter was purchased by the Kissimmee Police Department.

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