After sending many drug dealers to prison, confiscating hundreds of pounds of narcotics, thousands of dollars in drug cash and making Bryan County a safer place to live, a Durant police officer hung up his badge for a life of leisure in retirement.
Lucas, Durant Police Department’s drug sniffing dog was recently retired and ownership given to his handler Officer Shane Walker. The two had worked together for the past four years arresting drug traffickers and seizing drugs and cash. Lucas, a Belgian Malinois, was trained in Hungary and purchased by the department seven years ago. He is now 11 years old, the equivalent of 77 human years and was having trouble getting in and out of the specially designed K-9 vehicle. He suffered a stroke and has been undergoing medical treatment.
Walker reflected back on the success he and Lucas working as partners had as crime fighters. Lucas was trained as a narcotics dog, but would also protect his handler if he sensed a threat. His biggest one-day haul was 56 pounds of marijuana and involved a decoy car and a car carrying the drugs. OHP Trooper Mike Plunkett, now retired, and Walker were working interdiction together when Plunkett tried to pull over two vehicles. The decoy vehicle pulled over, but the other continued northbound on U.S. 69. Another Durant police officer held the stopped vehicle, while Plunkett and Walker pursued the drug laden car, stopping it in Atoka. Walker deployed Lucas and the dog immediately alerted the presence of drugs. A search of the vehicle revealed 56 pounds of marijuana.
“This was a very complicated stop,” Walker said. “Trooper Plunkett did an outstanding job on the arrest and Lucas did his job in assisting in finding the drugs.”
With drug cartels and gangs using the busy U.S. 69 corridor to move drugs, Walker has developed a sense for spotting possible traffickers. On one stop he suspected the vehicle was a drug carrier, it turned out to be a member of the notorious Chicago gang Latin Kings transporting cocaine. The driver started to get aggressive until he saw Lucas and backed off.
Walker isn’t sure on the exact numbers of drugs seized, cash or arrests Lucas has been responsible for because he had two other handlers before he took over. However, he does know that in one year the canine was involved in the seizure of 250 pounds of drugs and $80,000 in cash. Money seized in these arrests goes into a narcotics fund with the Durant department getting 60 percent and the District Attorney Drug Task Force. Those funds are earmarked for future drug-related activities.
While Lucas enjoys his retirement at the Walker home, his replacement is already on the job. Bors, a German Shepherd now shares the K-9 vehicle with his new master. Walker went to Arkansas to train with Bors for two weeks. Unlike Lucas, he is a patrol dog and in addition to sniffing out drugs can track and if given the command will attack.
Walker joined the Durant police in 2006 after serving four years in the U.S. Army and a deployment to Iraq in 2003. He is looking forward to continuing his goal of removing drugs in Bryan County with his new canine.
“Lucas was an awesome dog in the drug war,” said Walker. “He just couldn’t function well after having the stroke.”
Both Lucas and Bors are like his children and while one can enjoy the good life in retirement, the other will give Walker a partner he knows will always have his back.