Saratoga County Sheriff using K9s and education to fight opioid crisis

September 21, 2017 05:47 PM

MILTON - On this day, they're playing the bad guys.

Deputy Kevin Lantco is on the receiving end as the sheriff demonstrates the value of K-9s in catching criminals.


The Saratoga County Sheriff's Office has 272 employees. 122 of them are on the road fighting crime every day.

Sgt. Brent Dupras has been with the office for 27 years.

"You just don't know when you get in the car what to expect, what the call is going to be. The radio goes off all day," said Dupras as he drove through Milton Wednesday.

And lately, too many calls are related to heroin and other opioids.

Sheriff Mike Zurlo calls it his department's biggest challenge.

Zurlo said, "It's a struggle to take control of it. We're working at it."

And the dogs help.

At traffic stops, if an officer suspects there's drugs in the car, they can bring in one of five four-legged officers to search for and seize narcotics.

"The K9 has a strong sense of smell, probably ten times stronger than a human. And he very easily picks up that scent quicker than a human could, said Sgt. Andy Kelley.

But the arrests are only part of the answer.

The sheriff says education is key. And he's  sponsoring two forums next month about the dangers of opioids. One at Shenendehowa High on October 11, the other at Burnt Hills High on October 26.

Zurlo says there'll be recovering addicts and their family members, and members of the medical community.

The key, says the sheriff, is to teach kids before they find themselves being chased by police.


Mark Mulholland

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