Student works with narcotics as a K-9 handler

Amy Brown

Amy BrownETC Editor

SDSU student Shawn Hostler knows what it’s like to be dog-tired at the end of the day.

The public recreation major works full time as K-9 Handler at Brookings County Sheriff’s Office. The 31-year-old from Blunt is also a full-time student.

Hostler focuses on drug interdiction with Deputy Bo, the sheriff department’s certified drug-searching Golden Labrador.

Bo came to the Brookings County Sheriff’s Office in 2002 from a kennel in Minnesota. He was a good prospect and did well in his training, Sheriff Marty Stanwick said.

After completing training in six types of narcotic drugs, Bo was sworn in as a sheriff’s deputy by a Brookings circuit court judge.

In 2003, Deputy Bo assisted in 32 arrests for narcotics violations in Brookings County, Stanwick said.

While most of their time on duty is spent patrolling, Hostler and Bo also work at DWI checkpoints. The K-9 Unit answer calls from Brookings police officers and sheriff’s deputies if a traffic stop involves suspicion of drugs. At the request of area schools, the K-9 Unit has also searched school buildings and vehicles in school parking lots for drugs.

Each month both Hostler and four-year-old Bo complete 16 hours of training to stay effective in their jobs.

Hostler began his career in law enforcement in 1999 as an officer in Sully County. After completing his first year at SDSU in 2001, he started working as a part-time correctional officer at the Brookings County Sheriff’s Office.

When the position as K-9 Handler opened in May 2004, Hostler jumped at the chance to work in such a specialized field.

“It’s an important job, trying to get the drugs off the streets,” Hostler said.

He and Bo are the only canine unit in the area. The Highway Patrol has other units in Sioux Falls, Hostler said.

Hostler completed training at the Criminal Indiction School in Sioux City, Iowa. In 2004 he was certified as a K-9 Handler through the Sioux Falls Police Department.

Although it can be difficult to balance a full-time job with a full class schedule, the sheriff’s department and Hostler’s professors understand his dual role as student and officer.

“The sheriff’s office is very good with scheduling me for shifts, and the professors also work well to balance everything out,” Hostler said.

Hostler is almost finished with his degree, but he wouldn’t mind staying on as K-9 Handler for Brookings County after graduating from SDSU.

When asked about the best part of his job, Hostler came up with three.

“Working with the public, and meeting new people every day, and trying to get drugs off the streets,” he said.

#1.885694:2573985700.jpg:k9portrait2.jpg:Shawn Hostler is a full-time student and a K-9 handler for the Brookings County Sheriff´s Office. He is pictured here with his dog Bo.:Jerry Smith