The Oklahoma State Senate approved legislation Wednesday authorizing the Commissioner of Public Safety to house and train canines for drug and bomb units.
House Bill 2695 is authored by State Senator Earl Garrison, D-Muskogee and Rep. Paul Roan, D-Tishomingo. The bill now goes to Gov. Brad Henry for approval.
HB 2695 allows the Department of Public Safety to acquire, house and train canines to assist in explosives detection, seek out and discover controlled dangerous substances, perform article searches, perform drug interdiction, provide officer protection, and engage in tracking of suspected criminals. Each canine would be kenneled with its full-time trainer-handler who serves as the primary caregiver of the canine.
Sen. Garrison said there are 19 handlers who train 26 dogs. He said there will be no cost to the state to build the kennels. He said any costs associated with acquiring, housing and training the canines will be paid for with asset forfeiture funds.
“This measure is about public safety,” Garrison said. “The trainers dedicate a lot of time preparing these dogs to aid in everything from drug searches to bomb detection. It only makes sense to allow them to provide kennel housing on their private property. We must give law enforcement every tool available to help them to keep all Oklahomans safe.”