Breckenridge Texan

New K-9 officer joins Breckenridge Police Department to help combat drug problems

New K-9 officer joins Breckenridge Police Department to help combat drug problems
December 26
15:00 2020

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

The Breckenridge Police Department has another new officer, and this one was brought in from Poland because she is specially trained to help combat drug problems in the community. Elza is a 2-year-old K-9 officer, and she recently attended a meeting of the Stephens County Crime Stoppers organization to demonstrate her skills in locating illegal substances.

Partners, K-9 Officer Elza and BPD Officer Brian McBride, prepare to search a room in the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce building for drugs that had been hidden for a demonstration. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Led by her partner, BPD Officer Brian McBride, Elza ran through the Breckenridge Chamber of Commerce office last week, looking for the packets of drugs that fellow officer Brandon Berkley had hidden throughout the building.

Within minutes, she had correctly identified the locations of the MDMA (aka Ecstasy), methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin.

McBride explained to the Crime Stoppers board that Elza is not a patrol dog, meaning that she won’t be used to track down missing people or help officers keep criminals under control. She is a single-purpose dog, trained strictly in drug detection.

The K-9 officer is a Belgium Malinois from Poland and is trained with Czech commands. She was trained at a facility in Liberty Hill, Texas. McBride also had training there as a canine handler.

Elza’s sense of smell is so strong that she can detect residue, as well as larger quantities of drugs.

“Like, if somebody puts dope in their center console over and over and over again, the residual smell of it will be there for a little while. She’s hit on stuff before where we didn’t find anything, but it’s just the residual from where the people have had it before,” McBride said. “Or, if somebody smokes (illegal drugs) in their car, the residual odor will be in the upholstery, in the headliners.”

Elza lives with McBride, but she is kept away from his personal pets. “We keep them separated, because working dogs — whether it’s military or police — the way that they’re trained, they consider themselves the alpha dog,” he explained.

McBride takes Elza to work with him each day, and part of his workday includes training with her.

The initial cost to buy Elza and bring her to Breckenridge, including her training, was $8,000. Most of that was funded by three major donations: $5,000 from Johnny Wade with Resist-All Electric, $1,000 from Copperleaf Properties and $1,000 from Stephens County Crime Stoppers. The remaining $1,000 was made up of smaller donations that Berkley secured from various businesses and individuals in the community.

In addition to the cost of purchasing Elza, the police department will also have the added costs of about $1,000 per year for her upkeep.

Breckenridge Police Officer Brian McBride and his K-9 partner, Elza, demonstrate her training at a recent board meeting of the Stephens County Crime Stoppers organization. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: The Breckenridge Police Department recently recognized the major donors that helped bring Elza, the new K-9 officer to the community. Pictured are, Elza and her partner BPD Officer Brian McBride, in front, and, from left, Virgil Moore with the Stephens County Crime Stoppers, Police Chief Bacel Cantrell, Johnny Wade with Resist-All Electric, Carolyn Moore with Copperleaf Properties, BPD Officer Brandon Berkley and BPD Capt. Jay Walker. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

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