Advocate staff photo by Stephanie Warren -- St.Helena Parish Deputy Toler Smith and his new partner Bubba prepare to patrol the streets of St. Helena. Smith and Buddy arrived back home last week after training in Texas.

St. Helena Parish Deputy Toler Smith is back home in Greensburg with his new partner, a bulldog named Bubba, after attending a two-week training program in San Antonio.

The new K-9 team is now complete and ready to patrol the streets of St. Helena Parish.

The first dog arrived last month after St. Helena Parish Deputy George Baker was assigned to his new partner, a blue heeler named Gundy.

Baker also attended the two-week training program in Texas before he could bring his partner back to Greensburg. Training included obedience, leash control and how to handle searching vehicles and buildings.

The new K-9 team was made possible through the Universal K9 program. The program rescues dogs from shelters and trains them to sniff out contraband. Once they are trained, they are sold to law enforcement agencies at discount prices.

Smith said he is glad to be back with his new partner and is ready to hit the streets to see what he can do.

“Bubba was scheduled to be euthanized the day before he was rescued by the program. I am glad he was saved, and I look forward to him helping me on the streets,” Smith said.

Sheriff Nat Williams said the new K-9 team is going to be a resource for all agencies in the parish.

“By use of their keen senses, they are able to sense what people cannot. Due to their keen sense of smell, sight, agility and other abilities, they are a very valuable tool in police work,” Williams said.

“We are lucky to have them,” he said.

Williams said the dogs were trained to detect various narcotics and explosives. By training them with actual narcotics and chemicals used in explosives, the dogs are able to smell the distinct odors given off from these items, he said.

“The St. Helena Parish Sheriff’s department is committed to taking guns and drugs off of our streets, and these dogs are trained to find them and apprehend any individual that presents themselves as a threat to our community,” Williams said.