PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — He is the youngest recruit and the only one who doesn’t draw a paycheck, but his presence on the force is going to pay big dividends for the Presque Isle Police Department.
Officers this week welcomed their new tracking bloodhound, Beaufort T. Justice, or Beaufort for short, to the department. The 9-week-old began work on Tuesday.
The tracking dog will be trained over a two-year period. A breeder from Virginia who breeds dogs for law enforcement donated the bloodhound to the department. Officer Kevin Schumacher will be Beaufort’s handler.
The department already has a bloodhound, but Hunter, though still a great tracking dog, is 8 years old and “getting on in years,” according to Schumacher.
“It will take me about two years to fully train Beaufort, and Hunter will be 10 years old by then,” he said Wednesday. “That will be a good time for him to retire, and then Beaufort can take over for him.”
Hunter, who also resides with Schumacher, is Beaufort’s great-uncle. He came from the same breeder as Beaufort.
Schumacher has years of experience training bloodhounds, and Beaufort will be the 13th dog he has trained. The dog will be going to work and training with Schumacher every day.
Schumacher said he and the other officers are excited about their new companion.
“Having Hunter has really made our jobs easier,” he said Wednesday. “He has closed more than 100 cases and has found four people with Alzheimer’s disease who have gotten lost. Because of the weather at the time, we don’t believe that two of them would have made it if we hadn’t found them. Hunter has been a great dog.”
The department used Facebook to find a name for the dog. Voters were asked to choose between either Beaufort or BOLO, which stands for Be On the Lookout. Beaufort was the hands-down winner. The puppy is named both for Beaufort, S.C., where Schumacher got his start as a trainer, and for Beaufort T. Justice, a character in the “Smokey and The Bandit” movies.
The department also has Dozer, a drug-detecting black Labrador retriever.