Lewiston Police Officer Kevin Gagne has had a dog before.
But a dog as a partner? That’s something different.
And Scout, a yellow Lab, is a different kind of police dog.
Unlike some of the other, more aggressive K-9s, Scout is a sniffer, not a fighter. She’s been trained since puppyhood for life as a narcotics dog. If you’ve got cocaine in a car or heroin in a home, she’s going to find it.
Then she’ll go home with Gagne and play ball with his kids. Because whatever else her job may be, she’s still a Lab.
Name: Kevin Gagne
Family: Four children
Job: Lewiston Police Department
Did you always want to be a K-9 officer? I have been a police officer for 20 years, and have been in Lewiston for almost seven. I have done many assignments as a police officer and I find that a K-9 officer is one of the most rewarding. Being a K-9 officer has always been a goal of mine since (I was) a child.
Tell me about Scout: Scout is a 2-year-old yellow Labrador retriever. She came from a local breeder in Morrill, Maine.
How did you and Scout meet? Scout and I met when she was only 8 weeks old. She has been living with me ever since.
How long have you two been partners? Scout and I have been a certified narcotics detection team, officially, since September of 2017.
What makes her different from other LPD K-9s? K-9 Scout in a non-aggressive, scent detection dog. Her primary job on the police department is sniffing for narcotics. She has no “patrol function,” meaning she does not do any bite work or apprehension work. Scout will often attend community events and loves hanging out with children.
What kind of training did you have to do with Scout? Scout began her training at home with me when she was 8 weeks old. When she turned 11 months old, she and I attended the eight-week State Police-run narcotics detection school, which is located at the police academy in Vasselboro. Scout is trained to detect the odors of crack, heroin, cocaine, as well as methamphetamine.
What was that like? Narcotics detection school was fun. Scout did very well and showed that she loves working.
Who takes care of Scout when she’s not working? Scout stays with me 24 hours a day, seven days a week. She lives in my home and we literally spend every moment together.
What’s she like when she’s off the clock? Scout is a very playful, “high drive” dog. When she is not working she enjoys typical Labrador stuff. She loves swimming and playing ball and of course playing with my children.
Any big cases for Scout yet? Scout has been involved in several cases in the city. Last year between September and December, Scout was able to locate over 285 grams of assorted narcotics and was directly responsible for seizing well over $16,000 in drug profits. She is on pace this year to at least double those numbers.
Most police dogs in Maine seem to be shepherds or shepherd-like dogs. Does Scout feel out of place? Working with a Labrador is much different than working other types of dogs. They have a different personality and drive. Scout loves other dogs . . . probably to a fault. She attends training twice a month and the majority of the other dogs are shepherds or shepherd-like dogs. If I were to guess, Scout not only embraces being different, she is always trying to show the other dogs how to have fun!
Lewiston Police K-9 officer Kevin Gagne, with his dog Scout, takes time out for a photo while on patrol recently. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)