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Bristol County K9 team graduates narcotics detection academy



K9 Officer Brennan Bulgar and his four-legged partner, Eros, graduated from the narcotics detection academy on Friday morning. Eros can detect nine different narcotics, including as little as 5 milligrams of fentanyl.

DARTMOUTH – A tiny amount of fentanyl can kill someone, and lucky for the people of Bristol County, the newest certified narcotics dog can detect even the smallest amount.

Bristol County Sheriff’s Office K9 Officer Brennan Bulgar and his four-legged partner, Eros, graduated from the narcotics detection program on Friday, and he reported that of the nine drugs they worked on, fentanyl was the one where Eros shined the brightest.

“He was picking up on very trace amounts of fentanyl,” Officer Bulgar said this week. “He can hit on 5 milligrams. It’s like a speck of dust, but that’s enough for Eros. He’s really been great and will do an amazing job for the people of Bristol County.”

Sgt. William Dillingham led the detection program for Officers Bulgar and Eros, and said that fentanyl detection was their top priority.

“Ask any police department, any state trooper, and law enforcement officer and they’ll tell you they’re finding more fentanyl then heroin these days,” said Sgt. Dillingham, who regularly trains with K9 teams from the New Bedford, Fall River and Somerset Police Departments as part of a regional training group. “There’s a lot of fentanyl going around so that’s something we wanted to prioritize.”

Eros is a 2.5-year-old Shepherd who tips the scales around 70 pounds. In addition to fentanyl, Eros can detect heroin, suboxone, oxycontin, crack, cocaine, meth, Percocet and marijuana. While marijuana isn’t as much of a priority for law enforcement on the streets as it used to be, marijuana detection is still extremely useful in a jail setting or in schools, where Bristol County K9 teams have been called for searches in the past.

Officer Bulgar, a military veteran who was a corrections officer for several years before spending the last decade in the K9 unit, and Sgt. Dillingham said one of the biggest challenges of this academy was teaching Eros about a passive alert rather than an aggressive alert. If Eros detects drugs, he will sit at the spot rather than claw at the area.

“The last thing we want is the dog to scratch at a bag of drugs and have it tear open and get in the air,” Sgt. Dillingham said. “That’s not good for the dog or the handler, or anyone in the area. The passive alert was a big challenge, but Eros did great at it.”

While addressing a small gathering at the graduation ceremony at the Sheriff’s Office on Friday morning, Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson said that Officer Bulgar is the guy would give you the shirt off his back at a moment’s notice.

“I could go on and on about Brennan because you literally cannot find a single person in this department who has a bad word to say about him,” Sheriff Hodgson said. “He’s treated everyone with respect, dignity and kindness from his first day on the job until now. He’s the guy you wave at every morning because you’re truly happy to see him.

“Not to sound like a Hallmark card, but it’s true: Brennan Bulgar makes the world a better place, and we’re all better people because of Brennan Bulgar. He’s just a great person, and great people make great officers.”

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