ELMA, Wash. -- The legalization of marijuana in Washington state prompted Elma's police chief to lay off the city's drug detection dog last month.
Police Chief Jeff Troumbley also said the rising costs for caring for Riggs the K-9 officer caused him to eliminate the position.
Riggs was trained to alert officers when he smells one of five drugs: marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.
Since Riggs cannot tell the difference between marijuana and the other drugs, Troumbley said the dog was not as effective as he was before voters passed Initiative 502.
Before I-502 if Riggs smelled one of those drugs in a car, police were able to use his alert to get a search warrant. Now police need other evidence to obtain a warrant.
"With the changes I couldn't justify the expense of what we were getting out of the drug team," said Troumbley.
Riggs' partner at Elma police is now his owner.
"I don't think he's ready to retire yet," said Officer Josh Wheeler, who said he wishes Riggs was still with him out on patrol. "Let him do what he's trained to do.” VIDEO VERSION from KING TV:
Radioman Kansas City OMG... think of all the lawyers and prosecutors and drug court judges and jailers who will also be out of work. And the private prison corporations. Lets do this nationwide and expand it to cover cocaine, an expensive drug that probably is responsible for our high anti-theft insurance rates.
Maybe we can use all that savings to extend skill education as part of our free program for young people to prepare them for life. End THIS war too. EDUCATE, don't INCARCERATE.
Other interesting news made out in Seattle area this weekend...
- Machinists narrowly vote to keep the Boeing 777 to be built there. Missouri had tried to get that action by offering Boeing a huge tax break to move here.
- Seattle City hall Exec plans to raise the minimum wage there to $15!!!!