In December of 1983, the Florida Highway Patrol established the Canine Section. Each trooper and his canine are trained in all aspects of canine work which includes obedience, attack, tracking, and drugs. The primary use of these units is the detection of illegal drugs. These troopers are assigned throughout the state to patrol the interstate system and other highways in order to interdict drug couriers and other criminal activity. On November 15, 2006, three new members joined the ranks when they graduated in West Palm Beach.
Trooper Boody has been serving with the Florida Highway Patrol since February 2001. Prior to FHP, he was a Police Officer for the city of Ft. Lauderdale. Tpr. Boody handles Leroy, an 18 month-old German Shepherd and they are currently assigned to Troop-K, Broward County.
Trooper Hitchcock has been serving with the Florida Highway Patrol since January 2003. Prior to FHP, he was a Police Officer for the city of Mount Dora in Lake County, Florida. Tpr. Hitchcock handles Eros, a 2 year-old German Shepherd and they are currently assigned to Troop-D, Brevard County.
Trooper Schweinsberg has been serving with the Florida Highway Patrol since November 2002. Trooper Schweinsberg was elected Class President and was the recipient of the Executive Director’s Award for the 103rd Basic Recruit Class. K-9 “Frenzy” is a two-year old German Shepherd and they are assigned to Volusia County.
Trooper Michael R. Van Leer
Regional Canine Instructor and Evaluator
K-9's Goose and Maverick
Trooper Mike Van Leer became a State Certified Canine Instructor for the Florida Highway Patrol In 1993. He then became the first and only current State Certified Evaluator for the Florida Highway Patrol in 1996. He is the first canine trainer/evaluator In the State of Florida qualified to teach and certify narcotic detection canines under a national program, the International Forensic Research Institute at Florida International University.
As a canine instructor/evaluator, Trooper Van Leer has trained over 65 police canine teams in the areas of narcotic detection, tracking and patrol dog work. He has trained teams for other police agencies as well as the Florida Highway Patrol. Trooper Van Leer has over 2,000 academic hours in the training of Police Work Dogs.
Trooper Van Leer and his K-9 partners Goose and Maverick are assigned to Troop K, West Palm Beach.
More about the K-9's and their training:
Contraband Interdiction Program