Saugerties Town Police officer Jen Culver and her canine partner, Romulus, took the top prize in the narcotics detection at the United States Police Canine Association’s 2019 National Detector Dog Trials, held this week in Albany.
According to the Times-Union, the event took place Monday and Tuesday at the Desmond Hotel, and included narcotics and explosives detection. “The dogs and their handlers were judged on a number of objectives, including accuracy, speed and how the officer handled the dog. Most dogs were traditional police dog breeds, German shepherds or Malinois, but the event also included Labradors and Shorthaired Pointers.”
Romulus is a young Belgian Malinois who joined the department last fall.
Culver, a Broome County native who previously worked as a veterinary tech, said the K-9 angle was why she specifically sought out the Saugerties Police Department after completing her police training at SUNY Ulster.
“I always liked training dogs so that aspect was always there,” she told Saugerties Times last fall. “I began handling search dogs, and I really liked being a canine handler. I always wanted to become a cop, so I decided to go it before I got too old. A follow-your-dreams sort of thing.”
Culver has a track record of training dogs — she has worked with animals in bed-bug detection, for security purposes and for search and rescue capabilities. As a hobbyist, she has competed in American Kennel Club obedience competitions as well as the “Schutzhund,” an obedience competition specifically geared towards German shepherd and their tracking abilities. Her present dog pack at home consists of German shepherds Anika, Reina and Zuren, along with a group of pugs — Frankie, Franny, Finley, Fiona and Freddy. Notably, Culver lent a “biosensor” dog that she had trained to the Saugerties Police Department last year to search the Esopus Creek for a missing person, whose remains were found at the bottom of the creek near Washburn Terrace within 15 minutes of the dog’s search.