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K-9 patrol tracks Tigard crime after decade-long absence

Officer Brian Jackson and Baxter, a German shepherd purchased from a Florida vendor, put the bite back in crimefighting
by: Submitted photo, NEW SLUETH POOCH — Tigard Officer Brian Jackson and Baxter, a German Shepherd male bred in Eastern Europe, make up the city’s new K-9 patrol, the first in nearly a decade.

TIGARD - The Tigard Police Department has a new face on its team of law enforcement pros.

Or should we say snout?

Baxter, a male German shepherd procured from a Miami, Fla., vendor for $7,000, has been working the beat with Officer Brian Jackson for nearly a month now.

Baxter was bred in Eastern Europe.

'We went through like four dogs to find the right one,' said Jim Wolf, public information officer for the Tigard Police Department. 'Everyone here has been very impressed with him so far.'

Jackson and Baxter together completed a 400-hour certification course offered through the Washington County Sheriff's Office before officially hitting the streets in early April.

In particular, Baxter is adept at scent tracking, such as in burglaries or missing person cases, rather than in the detection of illegal drugs, Wolf said.

Baxter's arrival marks the first time in more than a decade since the city ran its own canine unit. In 1998, when the city staffed as many as three K-9 patrols, labor negotiation issues and budgetary concerns ultimately saw the demise of the program

In the interim, the city relied on canine assistance from places like the Washington County Sheriff's Office and the cities of Lake Oswego and Beaverton.

The Tigard City Council last July moved to reinstate the K-9 program.

Now that Tigard has its own doggy do-gooder, it can return the favor, and the city is offering the mutual aid of its K-9 duo to its neighbors.

The city is also getting a break on Baxter's feeding and grooming supplies. Target, the nationwide department store chain with a Tigard branch on Hall Boulevard, offered to pay for some of his upkeep and feeding, Wolf said.