Pair Of Trooper K-9s Keep Wyoming Capitol Safe During Legislative Session

Scout and Duster, a pair of black Labrador retrievers, sweep the state Capitol building for explosives and other potentially dangerous devices every day during the Wyoming Legislatures 37-day session, which began this week.

Mark Heinz

January 13, 20233 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Arrive at the state Capitol in Cheyenne early enough and you may see two of Wyoming’s most vital security experts in action. 

Scout, age 7, and 8-year-old Duster are black Labrador retrievers tasked with sweeping the building for explosives every morning as the 67th Wyoming Legislature is in session. 

Along with their Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper handlers, the pair of pooches work the entire Capitol – level by level, room by room – until it’s cleared as safe. 

Scout’s hander, Trooper Billy Quade, said there’s no real time limit on how long this can take. 

“We go for as long as it takes to make sure it’s done properly,” he said. 

They’ve never found any bombs, Quade said, but it’s still an important precaution that demands thorough attention. 

Great To Work With

A nearly 22-year veteran of WHP, Quade was paired with Scout three years ago. They’ve put in countless hours together sweeping the Wyoming Capitol and other buildings, relying on Scout’s keen nose to catch the scent of any nefarious devices. 

Scout’s a great partner, Quade said. 

“He’s got an affectionate personality and the drive,” he said. 

Labradors are the WHP’s breed to choice for bomb-sweeping duty not only because of their great sense of smell, but because their amicable temperament is well-suited for work in public places, Quade said. 

“Labradors are friendly and docile, and they have the stamina to stay on task,” he said. 

Meeting Job Requirements

The dogs were trained to detect explosives by being given rewards and the lessons stuck, Quade said. But training and the principle of teamwork must be constantly refreshed. 

“We train together every day,” he said.

Scout and Duster look remarkably good for their ages, and while they’re working it’s clear that they have no shortage of energy. 

Diligent feeding and care are to credit for that, Quade said. 

“They get exercised every day. We feed them top-quality, high-protein food, and they don’t get too many treats,” he said. 

‘It’s All Play’

The dogs enjoy people and being out in public, Quade said. However, it’s important for them to stay focused while performing their sweeps. 

So, the troopers appreciate it if people politely ask before approaching Scout and Duster.

“They like visiting and being petted if we have time for it, but ask first to make sure,” Quade said. 

The dogs radiate enthusiasm as they move about the building with their human partners. From the canine perspective, every morning is a fun treasure hunt, Quade said. 

“It’s all play for them,” he said.

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter