Newport Police Chief Mark Miranda has announced that veteran Officer and K-9 handler T. J. Eriksen, who initiated the Drug Canine program with the Newport Police Department in 2009, has accepted a position with the Portland Police Department. Officer Eriksen’s replacement, Officer Keith Garrett will take over K-9 duties with Police Canine “Eyan.” Eyan has already transitioned to Officer Garrett’s care.
The Newport Police Department was awarded a federal grant in August 2008, and coupled with private donations, allowed the Department to purchase Eyan and related equipment. In November of 2008 Eyan was flown from the Czech Republic to Portland. He and Officer Eriksen then traveled to Riverside, California for their initial training, returning to Oregon just before Christmas. A minor surgical procedure took Eyan out of service for two weeks, but on his first night back on patrol Eyan made an arrest after locating meth inside a truck. That discovery led to Officer Erikson’s legal ability to identify the passengers and take one into custody on a felony arrest warrant.
Canine teams must maintain their certification through annual testing. Eyan is well known throughout the State and is very active in the Oregon Police Canine Association. Eyan has consistently passed the rigorous Oregon certifications standards with a 100% score, as he did while testing for his National Certification with the National Police Canine Association. When the Newport Police Department hosted the 2010 OPCA Spring Seminar, Eyan passed the certification test with a 100% score.
Eyan has been deployed 231 times, and linked to 147 arrests. In comparison, the average number of arrests made by NPD officers during the same time period was 106. Eyan has been used by numerous agencies in Lincoln, Tillamook, Linn, and Benton Counties. Eyan directly assisted in the seizure of more than $80,000 of drug money. He has successfully detected every drug he’s trained to locate, which includes Meth, Marijuana, Cocaine and Heroin.
Eyan and Officer Eriksen have made numerous presentations to community organizations including the Newport Senior Center, Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce, the Ocean Spray Community Center and the Lincoln County Chapter of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees. During the past two years the Newport Police Department canine team partnered with the Lincoln County School District to conduct multiple routine and preventative drug searches of schools. Eyan has been a welcomed guest at our area schools, and will continue to visit them during the coming school year.
As the new canine handler, Officer Garrett is working with Eyan to develop a strong working relationship and emotional bond. Garrett is learning to “read” Eyan when they are searching for drugs. Both have been in training over the past several weeks. The team of Officer Keith Garrett and Eyan must successfully complete specific tasks established by the Oregon Police Canine Association (OPCA), the certifying authority. Chief Mark Miranda says the department is anticipating that Officer Garrett and Eyan will be certified as a “team” by the end of September.
Chief Miranda adds that “Officer TJ Eriksen has been a major contributor to the performance of the Newport Police Department. His dedication, tenacity, and sense of humor will be missed. Meanwhile, we look forward to Eyan’s continued outstanding performance with his new handler, Officer Garrett.”