Buster is a lot like most dogs at home. He loves to play ball, and sleeps with four paws in the air on the kids’ beds.
But the 4-year-old springer spaniel goes to work every day as the Fresno Police Department’s chief narcotics K-9.
Earlier this month, Buster helped the narcotics team unearth 20 pounds of methamphetamine stashed in the frame of an SUV. The haul was estimated to be worth about $130,000.
They couldn’t have found it without Buster, Sgt. Tim Tietjen said.
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“We were going to give up, and he kept leading us, he promised it’s here,” Tietjen said. “And we kept digging, and it was in the frame.”
There are other dogs on the force trained in narcotics and protection, but Buster only searches out drugs. The springer spaniel is a popular choice for this job because of the breed’s good temperament and high play drive, according to Tietjen. Buster has been trained since he was a puppy to follow the scents of illegal drugs, and for every find, he’s rewarded with his beloved ball.
His friendly nature also means he makes friends with the neighborhood kids anytime he goes out on a drug bust.
“He’s a very valuable tool, but he’s also part of the team,” Tietjen said. “He’s just real loving.”