My Eyes Are Your Eyes
To Watch and Protect You and Yours
My Ears are Your Ears
To Hear and Detect Evil Minds in the Dark
My Nose is Your Nose
To Scent the Invader of Your Domain
And So You May Live
My Life Is Also Yours
It is the mission of the West Virginia Division of Corrections K-9 Unit to provide professionally trained and highly motivated K-9 teams to respond to critical incidents at all institutions within the Division of Corrections.
Additionally, K-9 Teams are utilized for contraband and illegal drug interdiction. K-9 teams are also made available to other law enforcement agencies within the state of West Virginia.
The WV Division of Corrections K-9 Unit was established in 1978 in an effort to reduce the number of escapes from the Huttonsville Correctional Center. Prior to 1978 there were an average of sixty escapes each year.
Once the decision was made to establish a K-9 unit, an officer was selected to attend a trainer's class at the K-9 Training section of the Maryland State Police. This officer brought the knowledge and training back to the Huttonsville Correctional Center and began the WV DOC K-9 Training Center. The training center has been in operation at Huttonsville since that time.
Using strict selection criteria, officers were chosen to attend a training class at the center. The German Shepherd dog was selected because of its reputation as a police K-9. The training center contacted the state’s animal shelters and, along with personal donations, used the Police K-9 selection guidelines to select the canines to attend the training. Four officers attended the first 14-week training class and formed the WV Division of Corrections K-9 Unit.
The areas of training for each handler and canine included Obedience, Tracking, Crowd Control, Handler Protection, and Drug and Explosives Searches. The success of the program soon became apparent as escapee after escapee was tracked and apprehended.
The number of escapes from Huttonsville began to decrease and along with the establishment of the K-9 Unit, strict security measures were implemented at the institution. The number of escapes from 2000 to 2005 averaged less than 1 per year.
One of the added benefits of the Unit was to help restore calm to areas of unrest within the institution. The presence of a trained K-9 during these times proved to be invaluable.
In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, the WV DOC K-9 Unit was one of the very few units throughout the state. The assistance of the K-9 Unit was made available to all Law Enforcement agencies. As the reputation of the Unit grew, so did the request for assistance from these agencies. The K-9 Unit has assisted in felony tracking, drug searches, crowd control, search and rescue for lost and missing persons, as well as, bomb searches at area schools.
In 1994, the Division of Corrections decided to start an additional section of the K-9 Unit to help in controlling the increasing use of drugs within the institutions with canines trained specifically for the detection of drugs. An officer was selected to attend the Controlled and Dangerous Substance training program at the Maryland State Police K-9 Training Academy and later with the US Customs.
He returned to West Virginia and began the CDS section of the K-9 Unit. There are currently 15 CDS canines on line at institutions throughout the state. Not only the various institutions and work release centers within the DOC, but also state, county, and local Law enforcement as well as, Parole offices use these canines.
The CDS canines are trained and certified to detect the odors of Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroine, Methamphetamine, and Ecstasy at the K-9 Training Center at Huttonsville. At each institution, the canines are used to check vehicles, packages, inmates, visitors, and general areas.
K-9 Unit Memorial — In Remembrance
This web page is dedicated to our friend and coworker:
CO II Anthony Powroznik
April 25, 1978—March 18, 2005
CDS Canine Handler
Pruntytown Correctional Center
Multi-Purpose K-9 Unit
- Capt Kevin Vandevander (K9 Commander)
- Lt Joe Haddix (Trainer/Inspector)
- Lt Brian Moler (Operations)
- Sgt Jeff Ball
- Cpl Garrett Cooper
- Cpl Mike Forinash
- Cpl Phil Poling
- Cpl Leonard Barnett
- Cpl Milan Shrader
- Cpl Zackery Eakle
- Sgt Andy Nething
- Cpl John Ross
- Cpl Justin Rollins
- Cpl Pam Taylor
- Cpl Joe Constable
- Cpl Paul Underwood
- Cpl Cameron McDaniel
- Sgt Wes Williams
- Cpl Robert Martens
- Cpl Kenneth Brewer
- Cpl Charles Gore
- Cpl Travis Hamrick
- Cpl Jeremy Summerlin