Rio Rancho Police K9 Unit members have a new tool to sharpen their dogs’ sniffing skills, thanks to a local teenager’s Eagle Scout project.
Cleveland High School senior and Boy Scout troops 1 and 459 member Mason Naus, son of Rio Rancho Police Department Sgt. Michael Naus, recently presented the scent-training board he designed to the department.
The board is made of plywood in a steel frame and has two sections, each containing five attachments for interchangeable cylinders that can hold samples of drugs or explosive materials for dogs to find.
Sgt. Naus, who’s worked at RRPD for 26 years, said if the department ever expands to include cadaver dogs, it could get more cylinders and use the board for that training, too.
The board folds up and bolts together for easier transportation.
K9 Unit Sgt. David Portis said the board would be “super beneficial” in focusing the canines on specific spaces and helping new dogs improve and experienced dogs review basics. He said the unit depends on outside funding for equipment and couldn’t have gotten a scent board without the donation.
“So the fact we’ve been gifted this is really appreciated,” he continued.
Mason Naus, who’s been a scout for about a dozen years, said he decided on the scent board as his Eagle Scout project because his family just adopted a dog, he wanted to keep the service local and his father works with the police department and knows the dog handlers.
“I talked to the (K9) officers about it, and they loved it,” he said.
Sgt. Naus said he and Mason worked hand-in-hand and wanted to do something different than other Eagle Scout projects.
“We wanted something that would last and be a tangible thing,” Sgt. Naus said.
He said law enforcement K-9 teams around the Rio Rancho area train together, so the board will benefit multiple agencies and their communities.
The younger Naus came up with the idea for the scent-training board after research, and said the design took a couple of days.