A special ceremony was held today at Washington Place for one of the Public Safety Sheriff Division’s finest canines. Sheriff Deputies along with other law enforcement officials gathered for the retirement of Deputy Canine Drikus who served in the Sheriff Division from 2002 until last month.

Governor Neil Abercrombie helped present a special dog tag award and acknowledged Deputy Canine Drikus’ years of service with a few words to the law enforcement officials in attendance at the ceremony.

”Deputy Canine Drikus has spent his life serving the State of Hawaii and on behalf of the citizens of this state, we appreciate all he and his team have done to enforce the law.”

In October 2001, the Department purchased Drikus, a Belgian Malinois, from Vohne Liche Kennel’s located in Peru, Indiana. He was a multipurpose dog, which means he was trained in tracking, explosive detection, evidence retrieval and officer protection.

Explosive detection dogs are held to high standards and are subject to monthly proficiency tests and quarterly validations. Drikus assisted the Secret Service at the APEC summit held in Honolulu last year.

For the past decade he served with the Marshals’ Service Fugitive Apprehension Team in “Operation Falcon”. Over the years he participated in over 50 high priority missions including protecting dignitaries like Senator Daniel Inouye. Drikus was also assigned to ensure the safety of the interior and exterior of the State Supreme Court, the State Capitol and Washington Place.

Drikus will retire to live out the rest of his days with his handler. “Drikus was always ready to jump into the back of the truck and head out to work in the morning,” said Deputy Sheriff and Drikus’ Handler Greg Mayo. “He couldn’t wait to put his nose to the ground, start working and doing what he does best, explosive detection.”

PSD’s Canine Unit began as a pilot program in 1995 at the Department of Corrections Halawa Facility. The unit initially consisted of two Adult Corrections Officers, a Lieutenant, and two German Shepherd canines that were donated to the state.

The main priority was to stop the flow of illicit narcotics into the prison system. Two years later, the trial program was deemed a success and relocated from the Corrections Division to the Law Enforcement Division. This move improved the efficiency of the division and allowed for the arrest and prosecution of individuals smuggling illegal drugs into the prison system.

Since their inception, the unit, working in cooperation with the various federal and county law enforcement agencies, has seized millions of dollars in drugs, contraband and cash.

In September 2001, the Sheriff Division formulated the explosive detection dog program to better provide for a safer community in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Since then, the Explosives Detection Dog Team has provided services for the United States Secret Service in the protection of our President and other high level dignitaries. The Team is also a fully trained and certified tactical response unit that is ready to provide service on a 24-hour basis and at a moments notice.

“The success of the canine unit is made possible by the vision of key individuals, the support of PSD leadership, our law enforcement partners, and the hard work of the Deputy Sheriffs, including Deputy Sheriff canine Drikus,” said State Sheriff Shawn Tsuha. “Today we honor Drikus for his hard work and unwavering devotion to making our community a safer place.”
Submitted by Toni Schwartz, Public Information Officer for the Department of Public Safety

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