Police Chief Harry Kubojiri is happy to announce that Big Island police will soon have another valuable tool in locating missing persons. The Friends of the Missing Child Center of Hawai’i is graciously donating a scent-discriminating tracking dog to the police department.
The male Labrador named Magnum was purchased through a grant that the non-profit organization was able to secure from the Atherton Foundation. During his training in North Carolina, Magnum was already credited with finding a missing person.
The dog arrived in the state last week and has been housed at the Honolulu Police Department’s training and canine facility in Waipahu. He is scheduled to arrive in Kona on Thursday (July 14th).
Chief Kubojiri said the Police Department anxiously awaits Magnum’s arrival. “While, thankfully, it’s rare that a child goes missing in our community, we must remain prepared for such a tragic event,” he said. “Since Tucker’s retirement more than three years ago, we have been without such an asset in West Hawai’i.
Updated: Kona Patrol Officer Robert Sakata, a 13-year veteran, will be Magnum’s handler. He and Captain Randall Medeiros are in Honolulu Thursday to meet Magnum, a black labrador, for the first time. Sakata has never had a canine partner before, but says he’s excited at the opportunity. He has two dogs at home–pound rescues–that will become Magnum’s adopted siblings.
Officer Sakata will fly home with Magnum Thursday evening. He expects to bring Magnum to the Kealakehe Police Station Friday–Magnum’s first official day “on the job.” Officer Sakata and Magnum will have some training together.
Hawaii Police Department has another tracking dog, Katie, in Hilo. They also have four drug-sniffing dogs, two each in East Hawaii and West Hawaii.