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Radar the drug-sniffing dog meets the pupils who named him

Seven children were the first to welcome the town's new resident from the Czech Republic on Saturday.

And they knew his name before they even met him.

The Lewiston Police Department got its first tracking and drug-sniffing dog last month and held a "name the dog contest" for elementary pupils before the dog arrived.

Seven local pupils, along with the dog's new handler, Officer Scott Stafford, chose the name Radar.

Stafford said the name was the best fit for the friendly, pure-bred German shepherd.

The Town of Lewiston received a $37,000 state grant to begin the new canine program and purchase the dog. The Police Department will be asking for business donations to continue to support the program in the future, Police Chief Christopher Salada said.

Radar is a year old, and though he is obedience-trained, he and Stafford will soon begin training together.

Stafford, who also works on the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program, will use Radar as a new tool in the Lewiston school program.

Salada said Radar is not a patrol dog that will attack on command. However, he will be out on patrol with Stafford and used to initiate searches in traffic stops or at the border when people act suspiciously and drug possession is suspected.

"We can only go so far if someone acts suspicious, but if the dog indicates [suspicion], we can go farther," Salada said.

Radar will also be called on to help during drug searches at schools and as a public relations tool. Salada said any community group can ask for a seminar with Stafford and Radar.

"[Radar] has a great personality. He's a great fit for Lewiston," the police chief said.

Saturday, seven Lewiston schoolchildren -- whose entries were among hundreds -- got to meet Radar at Lewiston Town Hall because they had chosen his name. The pupils are Robert and Thomas Blakelock, brothers who attend St. Peter's Catholic School; Maria Jaquez, a second-grader at Lewiston-Porter Elementary; Dolton Price, a fifth-grader at West Street Elementary; Anthony Cruz, a kindergartner at West Street; Austin Sauer, a fourth-grader at Colonial Village Elementary; and Brittney Bors, a fifth-grader, also at Colonial Village.


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