The Idaho State Police recently added “Bingo”, a Labrador and Golden Retriever mix, who is almost two years old to its District 4 office headquartered in Jerome. Bingo has joined Trooper. Steve Otto on the road as a drug detection dog as part of ISP’s drug interdiction team. Bingo is the only K9 member of the team.
Bingo was obtained with funds from a grant through the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program through the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Otto selected Bingo from a group of about thirteen dogs in Bellingham, Washington, however Bingo hails from Boise. Through a turn of events the trainer in Bellingham had recently received him from an elderly woman who was no longer able to care for him. Otto and Bingo left Washington and headed to Utah for two months of extensive training from the Utah POST K9 Academy.
Bingo and Trp. Otto are certified by the Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) and they both continue to train with the Twin Falls Police Department’s canine team every week to meet the 16 hours of required monthly training. Bingo is only trained to detect illicit drugs and will not be used for apprehension of subjects. Certification includes standards for detection dogs to obey basic control commands that most well-behaved dogs should obey such as “sit” and “stay” but they must also be able to find drugs in residential and commercial buildings, vehicles, containers and exterior open areas. The controlled substances that canines are required to detect to be certified include marijuana, cocaine, heroin and opiate derivatives, and methamphetamine.
As a K9 handler, Trp. Otto cares for Bingo twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and Bingo lives with Otto and his family.
If further information is desired, please contact Teresa Baker, ISP Public Information Officer, at 884-7122 or to schedule an interview with Trp. Otto and Bingo.