In June 2017, the Lexington Police Department debuted their newest addition, a four-legged furry friend armed with a state-of-the-art training and a discriminating nose. At Rupp Arena, Tilly, the two-year-old Lab was showcased to the city and police officials.

Tilly the Vapor Detection Dog

Certified Vapor Detection dogs are rigorously trained to track and sniff even small amounts of explosives. Whether these bombs are on the move or stationary, these expertly trained canines can specifically target and pinpoint them aptly. Officer Tilly is a Vapor Detection dog and Officer Jarvis Harris is her handler.

The city spent around $50,000 for Tilly and her officer’s training, which increased the number of police dogs in the Lexington police department to twelve. Once Tilly catches the scent of a possible explosive, there’s no stopping her from finding the source. Her handler, Jarvis Harris said, “I can try to pull her off if I want, but all she’s going to do is pull as hard as she can to try to get to the closest part of where the odor is coming from.”

Tilly Officer Vapor Detection Dog Lexington Kentucky bomb threats detection arenas

Tilly has a persistent drive to track down the explosive odor, once she locates an odor she becomes only obedient to finding it.  Harris knows that she will follow her nose to a threat to keep everyone safe.

Most police dogs are quite obedient because the majority of them are patrol dogs which may mean that they can provide help to hunt down suspects. However, it should be understood that Tilly is not a patrol dog.

Tilly’s Vapor Detection Training

Tilly the Vapor Detection dog was bred via the Auburn University Program which makes use of genetic research to breed working dogs like her. At the VWK9 Academy in Alabama, Tilly got her training for a full 15-months. Harris also trained alongside Tilly for seven weeks at the academy.

Tilly started her official Vapor Detection dog duty on October 1, 2017, and has participated in various explosive searches at sporting events, parades, and other mass pedestrian events.

According to Lexington Mayor, Jim Gray, “Tilly is no ordinary police officer, and she is certainly no ordinary dog. Today it is necessary for cities and communities to prepare for every situation. Having Tilly at events here in Rupp Arena and other events with large crowds will allow us to provide an extra level of security and hopefully an added sense of safety for our citizens and guests.”

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Photo Credit: Ebony Cox @ Lexington Herald-Leader