CROWN POINT | A Crown Point police officer and his canine partner Buddy won national recognition for work uncovering narcotics with a total street value of $3 million.
Buddy and his handler, Cpl. Jeff Eldridge, were working with a federal drug task force in March 2012 when the dog alerted officers to the possible presence of drugs under the floor of a semitrailer.
Six aluminum compartments containing 1,200 pounds of packaged marijuana were found hidden, Chief Pete Land said in a prepared release.
In a separate case in unincorporated Lake County last year, Buddy detected the presence of illegal drugs in areas of a building being searched by Eldridge working with the drug task force.
Federal agents searching those areas of the building, including in an abandoned refrigerator hidden behind other items, found 75 packaged marijuana bundles weighing nearly 800 pounds, Land said.
For their work, Eldridge and Buddy were selected by the national police dog organization The American Police Canine Association as its 2012 Narcotic Detection Team of the Year for a police department with fewer than 50 officers.
The Presidents Award was presented to Eldridge at the organization's annual banquet in Nashville, Ind.
The Crown Point Police Department is evaluating adding a third canine to its current corps of two, including Radar, whose police handler is Officer Stanko Gligic, Land said.
A third dog would allow a canine of each of three patrol shifts, Land said.