Crown Point Police Officer Jeff Eldridge and his K-9 partner, Buddy, were recently selected by the national police dog organization, the American Police Canine Association, as its 2012 Narcotic Detection Team of the Year for a Small Level Department (under 50 officers) throughout the U.S.
The President's Award was presented to Corporal Eldridge at the organization’s annual banquet in Nashville, Ind. by APCA President Michael Johnson.
In recognition of their fine work, Cpl. Eldridge and Buddy also received the Employee of the Month award for March from the City of Crown Point.
Cpl. Eldridge received the award for his detection of two large and separate drug seizures; one found hidden in a semi-trailer and the second found hidden in the garage of a residence located outside the Crown Point city limits. Both cases and searches were made as part of a federal drug task force investigation in which Cpl. Eldridge and Buddy were called to assist with the searches.
The estimated street value of the drugs located by the Crown Point team is $3 million.
In March, 2012 more than 1,200 lbs. of packaged marijuana was found hidden in the floor of a semi-trailer. After Buddy alerted to the possible presence of drugs under the trailer’s floor, the flooring was removed and six welded aluminum compartments holding the packaged drugs were located.
In a separate case, Cpl. Eldridge assisted in the search of a residence located in unincorporated areas surrounding Crown Point. While searching the garage area, Buddy detected the presence of narcotics in two different areas of the building.
Federal agents searched those specific locations, including an old refrigerator hidden behind larger items. A total of 76 packaged marijuana bundles, weighing approximately 800 lbs., were found at the locations where Buddy alerted.
Buddy is one of two Crown Point K-9s, serving with Ofc. Stanko Gligic and his partner, Radar. The police department is presently evaluating the addition of a third dog, which would allow a K-9 to be assigned to each of the three patrol shifts, said Police Chief Pete Land.