Naugatuck top cop K-9 added to effort to fight the opioid crisis

Top News

NAUGATUCK, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s a new “Judge” in the fight against the opioid crisis in Naugatuck: the town’s new police K-9.

On Friday, Judge and his handler, Officer Jake Pinho, completed state police training for specialized drug detection.

Judge and Officer Pinho

Judge graduated as the top police dog in the state and now his skills will be put to use on the streets of Naugatuck, becoming part of the plan to snuff out opiates and drugs at crime scenes.

“He’ll be able to give us probable cause to search vehicles, develop search warrants, cases of that nature,” said Officer Pinho. “It’s a huge asset to our department because their scent capabilities are so strong that we, as humans, cannot compare to what they’re able to do.”

RELATED: Seven narcotics K-9 teams graduate from Connecticut State Police training

The opioid crisis has hit Naugatuck hard. Last year, Naugatuck police reported 15 deadly overdoses — that’s up three from the year before.

Officer Pinho said he has seen the dangers of drugs while on patrol.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to use Narcan and save someone’s life,” he said.

The Valley Community Foundation reports the crisis has also hit the overall Naugatuck Valley region.

“One-third of Valley residents know someone who has either misused heroin or an opiate,” said Valerie Knight-Digangi, of the foundation.

Naugatuck’s Deputy Police Chief told News 8 combating this crisis is a top priority, and Judge will now play a key role in that.

“We recognize the impact this has had on the community, not just from a criminal justice standpoint,” said Deputy Chief Colin McAllister.

RELATED: A prescription for addiction: East Haddam mother says Vicodin script caused her son’s addiction and ultimately his fatal overdose

According to The Valley Community Foundation, between 2015 and 2018, the rate of opioid-related deaths in the Naugatuck Valley was 28.8 per 100,000 residents. That’s above the statewide average of 22.8.

Those statistics are why the foundation approved of Naugatuck’s effort to enlist their top dog in this battle.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

New Haven

Amazon donates 950 Kindles to West Haven middle school

News /
Thumbnail for the video titled "Amazon donates 950 Kindles to West Haven middle school"

New Haven faith leaders, clergy members get tested for Coronavirus

News /
Thumbnail for the video titled "New Haven faith leaders, clergy members get tested for Coronavirus"

Mayor Elicker comments on state of coronavirus in the Elm City

News /
Thumbnail for the video titled "Mayor Elicker comments on state of coronavirus in the Elm City"

Mayor Elicker, faith leaders to get tested for coronavirus at Murphy Medical Associates testing site

News /
Thumbnail for the video titled "Mayor Elicker, faith leaders to get tested for coronavirus at Murphy Medical Associates testing site"

CT Checkup: West Haven Veteran's Council brick campaign memorial ceremony quieter amid pandemic

News /
Thumbnail for the video titled "CT Checkup: West Haven Veteran's Council brick campaign memorial ceremony quieter amid pandemic"

How has Memorial Day and social distancing affected restaurants in CT?

News /
Thumbnail for the video titled "How has Memorial Day and social distancing affected restaurants in CT?"
More New Haven

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

More Don't Miss