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His five year career with the Salisbury Police Department is impressive, in fact, it rivals most of his peers on the force – both canine and human alike.
A native of England, Smoke joined the Salisbury Police Department in April 2005 as a member of the Canine Unit. He retired in December 2010, for health reasons.
Just last week, at the City Council meeting held on June 19, he was granted custody to his handler and caregiver of seven years, Sergeant Mark Hunter.
Initially assigned to a two man drug interdiction team, Smoke, under the direction of handler, then Master Police Officer Hunter, was trained to focus solely on narcotics detection – a specialization, no other canine in the unit held at the time.
While his canine peers were performing standard duties, such as searching for people and evidentiary articles, along with narcotics detection, Smoke was excelling in his specialized field.
Not only did he perform work within his own jurisdiction, but over the years he also assisted every law enforcement agency in Rowan County, the Davidson County Sheriff's Department and North Carolina Divisions of the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), the Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the State Highway Patrol (SHP).
Salisbury Police Chief Rory Collins states, "Smoke's career with our organization was exceptional. There are many success stories I could share relating to his work, however, the most memorable event I recall was Smoke's detection of a significant amount of narcotics and more than $20,000 in cash involved in an illegal drug trade, seized during a traffic stop on I-85. As a result of Smoke' superior performance, a percentage of the seized amount of cash was able to remain with our department through asset forfeiture statutes."
Other notable searches during Smoke's career include:
Seizure of 53 grams of marijuana, 3.7 grams of cocaine and $1,155 in cash during a vehicle search (December 2009)
Seizure of two (2) stolen firearms, scales and 101.9 grams of cocaine during a traffic stop (September 2009)
Seizure of ¼ pound of marijuana found in an air duct through a search warrant of a home (February 2008)
Seizure of 4 grams of cocaine and $1, 509 in cash through a search warrant of a home (July 2007)
Assistance provided to the SBI at a United Parcel Service (UPS) facility that resulted in the seizure of 40 pounds of marijuana (May 2007)
As a retiree of the Salisbury Police Department, Smoke will live out the remainder of his days with Sergeant Hunter, whom he's shared a bond with since he arrived on American soil. Smoke, Hunter and his family reside in Salisbury.