Meet Nitro, the bomb-sniffing dog assigned to the DuPage County courthouse
Fresh off several months of training, Canine Deputy Nitro has joined the DuPage County Sheriff's Office Canine Unit.
The 3-year-old German shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix, who is trained to detect more than 250 permutations of explosives, including gun powder, will be stationed at the DuPage County Courthouse with Deputy Frank Carragher.
The pair have been living and training together since June 21.
Nitro comes to the department through a private donor.
Prior to joining the courthouse staff, Nitro's first major assignment was as part of a larger countywide canine unit assembled to sweep the Medinah Country Club before and during the BMW Championship.
At the courthouse, Nitro and Carragher will work closely with Canine Deputy Jewel and her handler, Deputy Ken Diebert, who are retiring early next year.
Nitro is known as a passive alert dog, meaning when he detects an explosive device, he will sit still and point so as not to disturb or detonate any devices.
"This dog will proactively seek out bombs and guns. We'll use it for those acts of violence but the biggest value of a bomb dog is what it prevents," Sheriff James Mendrick said. "It's hard to quantify something that doesn't happen, but Nitro is there to make sure it doesn't happen."
Nitro joins Jewel and two other bloodhounds currently in the Canine Unit. Four additional dogs, currently being trained to sniff out drugs and cadavers, will join the unit in coming months, doubling the office's canine unit from four dogs to eight.
"All of these dogs are our tools in our fight against opioids and to quell, control and prevent mass violence events," Mendrick said.