Members of the Rio Rancho Police K9 Unit have a new tool to hone their dogs’ sniffing skills, courtesy of a local teenager’s Eagle Scout project.
Cleveland High School senior and Boy Scout Troops 1 and 459 member Mason Naus, son of RRPD Sgt. Michael Naus, presented the olfactory training board he designed to the department on Wednesday evening. The board is made of plywood in a steel frame and has two sections, each containing five attachments for interchangeable cylinders that can hold samples of drugs or explosives for dogs to find.
Sgt. Naus, who has worked at the RRPD for 26 years, said if the department expands to include cadaver dogs, he could also get more cylinders and use the board for this training.
The board folds up and bolts for easier transport.
K9 Unit Sgt. David Portis said the advice would be “super beneficial” by focusing dogs on specific spaces and helping new dogs improve and experienced dogs review the basics. He said the unit was dependent on outside funding for equipment and could not have secured an olfactory panel without the donation.
“So the fact that we received this is really appreciated,” he continued.
Mason Naus, who has been a scout for about a dozen years, said he chose the scent panel as an Eagle Scout project because his family had just adopted a dog, he wanted to keep the local service and his father was working. with the police department and knows the dog handlers.
“I told the officers (K9) about it and they loved it,” he said.
Sgt. Naus said he and Mason worked hand in hand and wanted to do something different from other Eagle Scout projects.
“We wanted something that would last and be tangible,” said Sgt. said Naus.
He said law enforcement dog teams in the Rio Rancho area are training together, so the council will benefit multiple agencies and their communities.
Young Naus came up with the idea for the olfactory formation chart after researching and said it took a few days to conceive.
“I had to keep exploring new ideas and fixing things that I thought didn’t work until I found what I thought was the perfect design,” he said.
Portis said he helped the Boy Scout focus on what the dog handlers needed.
“It came out way beyond my expectations,” he said.
Mason Naus then wrote a proposal to the Rio Rancho Lowe store to see if the company would donate supplies. The store supplied all the materials except the plywood and steel frames, “which was a huge amount of stuff,” he said.
Sgt. Naus’s father, owner of the Naus Agency metal fabrication business in Albuquerque, gave his grandson the steel for the frame, as well as the previous opportunity to learn the welding skills Mason used to assemble it.
Mason Naus said it took a group of seven Scouts and three parents about seven hours to put together the training board.
Since presenting it on Wednesday, all he has to do is finalize the papers and wait for the Scout Council to move on to the article to officially receive his Eagle Scout award.