RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Police is welcoming its newest member to the department – a yellow lab named Winnie.

Police said Tuesday that the 3-year-old dog has big responsibilities as RPD’s new Explosive Weapons Detection K-9.

“She can do in a few minutes, or 30 minutes, what it would take us days, if not, weeks to do,” said RPD Bomb Squad Commander Mark Castillo. “It’s amazing, as far as what they can find.”

Weeks of training prepared Winnie to take over for RPD’s former Bomb Dog, Shelby, who turned 11-years-old Tuesday.  Shelby served with RPD since 2014. Before that, she served on two tours with the U.S. Marines, finding more than 600 pounds of explosives and 24 IEDs. 

“She’s going to be relaxing at home, doing much of nothing, so she’s already started. It’s kind of hard. She still wants to work but she’s getting the hang of it,” Castillo explained. 

He said it takes 12 to 14 weeks to train bomb dogs. “We teach them all the odors that they’re going to find and how to find it, put them in different areas, teach them how to search, how to work with us,” Castillo said.

The K-9 will help the Richmond Police Department and nearby jurisdictions with dozens of situations. 

“Bomb threats, suspicious packages, we do perimeter searches, school sweeps for weapons, VIP dignitary visits, anything like that,” Castillo said. 

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