In the 90's and early 2000's, a Douglas County sheriff's deputy and his K9 made drug busts helping take thousands of pounds of drugs off the streets. When he retired, he was just getting started.
Fast forward to about five years later. For the past two days, in Springfield, Nebraska K9 units from eight states have undergone training with that retired deputy. Some of them are decedents of that top dog.
It starts in a big training classroom. Handlers from as far as Coleman County, Texas to as close as Douglas County, Nebraska review commands and dog psychology behind this "touch up training.
The dogs, apprehension, drug detection, and bomb sniffing dogs patiently wait in their partner's SUV. The license plates range; South Dakota, Iowa, Colorado, Oklahoma. The the caravan begins to a truck stop off I-80, where they will practice sniffing semi trucks.
They're participating in a two day training with Code 2 K9, a business out of Omaha. The course, one of field maintenance training and detection. Retired Douglas County sheriff's deputy Ed Van Buren is the human behind the four legged formula. Between 2007-2010, Van Buren and his dog Rocky seized over four million dollars in drugs during his time with the DEA.
When he retired in 2011, he didn't stop. Now, he's training Rocky's pups and grand pups, rescued dogs, and k9s from units across the country.
"It makes me feel great, he's a great canine. It could have been very different for him," said Ankeny police officer Bret Lappin.
Lappin is working with Bosco, a lab mix rescue.
"He's a great dog," Lappin said.
As for Rocky, he's now 14 years old and slowing down. There's more grey hairs in his fur.
"I look at Rocky now and he's old. He's not going to be with us much longer that reality is starting to set in. So you know what, I have one of those sons. I'm going to keep him,"
Van Buren says if that will mean great grandpups, it's not a completely closed case.