Two Clackamas County Sheriff's Office K9s — Abbie and Coda — are among the first law-enforcement dogs in Oregon certified to detect fentanyl.
On Feb. 7, 2023, the California Narcotic Canine Association (CNCA) certified K9 Abbie in fentanyl detection. Abbie is the first dog serving an Oregon sheriff's office to earn the distinction; K9 Coda followed a few days later, earning his certification on Feb. 10.
Over the past few years, CCSO deputies have seen a dramatic increase in overdose calls involving fentanyl, an incredibly powerful synthetic opioid. Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin, 100 times more potent than morphine, and among the leading killers of Americans ages 18-45. It's often pressed into counterfeit Oxycodone / M30 pills sold by drug dealers. In 2022 the Clackamas County Inter-agency Task Force (CCITF) seized 333,365 pills containing fentanyl and 22.6 pounds of fentanyl powder. That's over four times the number of pills the CCITF seized in 2021 (76,249) and over 22 times the amount of fentanyl powder seized in 2021 (0.992 pounds).
Earning the CNCA's fentanyl certification required focused, long-term work with the animals. Initial training takes many hours of imprinting, teaching the dogs to recognize the fentanyl drug odor. Once the K9s show consistent interest and recognize that fentanyl is a "target odor," trainers can build off that — putting the dogs in various environments with the confidence that they'll be able to locate the fentanyl odor in the field. The work doesn't end after certification: Handlers continue to train on a weekly basis to keep the K9s prepared for deployments.
Born in 2016, Abbie is a Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd mix who began working for the Sheriff's Office as a narcotics detection dog in April 2018; she is assigned to the Clackamas County Jail and assists throughout the Sheriff’s Office as needed. Coda, born in 2015, is a Dutch Shepherd specializing in narcotics detection and patrol; he joined the Sheriff's Office in 2016. Both dogs were born in The Netherlands.
Pictured: K9 Abbie and Deputy Ramos (left), K9 Coda and Deputy Krause (right).
Deputy John Wildhaber
Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office
Public Information Unit