By John McDevitt
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The first and only K-9 member of the University of Pennsylvania’s police force is settling in to her new job as an ordinance detection specialist.
Penn Vet Working Dog Center opened in September of 2012 in Greys Ferry. It takes promising puppies and trains them for a possible life of service as detection dogs.
“The idea behind the program is to gather research information and try to document and figure out what we can do to help develop the best detector dogs out there,” says
Annemarie DeAngelo, training director. “Our goal is to keep the dog for a year to 14 months so we can watch them progress.”
Socks, an 18-month-old yellow Labrador retriever, is the first dog placed from the center. She has been officially on the Penn police force less then one month and does regular patrols with her human partner, but specializes in explosives detection.
“One of the reason’s why we wanted an ordinance detection dog is, as you might imagine, Penn has a lot of dignitaries who come here, pretty much on a every day basis,” says Maureen Rush, Vice President for Public Safety and superintendent of police at the University of Pennsylvania, “but there are some dignitaries such as Vice President Joe Biden (who) spoke at our commencement. We’ve have had sitting presidents, the first lady, the second lady recently.”
Rush says Socks is the only female police K-9 on duty in Philadelphia.
15 other animals are being trained at the Penn Vet Working Dog Center.