Maryland State Police welcomes new K-9 teams named after fallen troopers

MDSP K 9 graduation

After 26 weeks of intense training, five dual-purpose K-9 teams graduated on Friday to become part of the Maryland State Police Special Operations Division K-9 Unit. The class is made up of two current handlers, two new handlers from Maryland State Police and one patrol officer from the Easton Police Department. Of these five teams, three of the newly certified K-9s have each been named in honor of one of the Maryland State Police’s 43 fallen heroes. K-9 Plank, a German shepherd, is paired with Cpl. Dana Orndorff and was named in honor of Trooper First Class Edward Plank.  TFC Plank, 28, was killed on October 17, 1995 when he was shot by a suspect after conducting a traffic stop on U.S. Route 13 in Princess Anne. K-9 Plank and Cpl. Orndorff will be assigned to the Berlin Barrack. K-9 Hunter, a Belgian malinois, is paired with Trooper First Class Shawn Brown and is named in honor of TFC Shaft Hunter. TFC Hunter, 39, who was also a member of the K-9 Unit, was killed on May 21, 2011 when his patrol car collided with the back of a tractor-trailer that was parked on the shoulder of I-95 in Howard County. It is believed that he was pursuing a speeding motorcycle when the collision occurred. K-9 Hunter and TFC Brown will be assigned to the Westminster Barrack. K-9 Wade, a German shepherd, is paired with Trooper First Class Kyle Morrison and is named in honor of Trooper Gary Wade. On Janurary 30, 1982, Trooper Wade, 25, was struck and killed by a motorist who ran off the roadway striking the trooper and his car. The incident occurred on the JFK Memorial Highway just outside of Havre de Grace. K-9 Wade and TFC Morrison are assigned to the North East Barrack, the same barrack where Trooper Wade served. The other graduates include K-9 Drake, a German shepherd, and Master Trooper James Layton, who are assigned to the Cumberland Barrack. K-9 Kato is heading to the Easton Police Department with PFC Stephen Tindall. The K-9 teams will be utilized for drug detection and patrol/utility work. The Maryland State Police K-9 unit has been in operation for over nearly 60 years and consists of 33 troopers and 41 K-9s.