SIDNEY — The Rotary Club of Sidney, Ohio hosted Ohio State Highway Patrol Sergeant Chris Coverstone, Trooper Jason Barhorst and drug dog Roy at at a recent meeting.
Also attending the meeting were Kaitlyn Ellison and Devyn Ostrander, of Houston High School, who had participated in the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards program earlier this year.
Coverstone, a Sidney High School graduate, is a 22-year veteran of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. In 1999, he was assigned to the Ohio State Highway Patrol Traffic, Drug and Interdiction Team and to the Eaton Post. He was selected as the Patrol’s Drug Interdiction Officer of the Year in 2000.
Shortly after, Coverstone was transferred to the Piqua Post, where he has remained active in the field of both commercial and passenger interdiction.
“I’m not sure a lot of people know what we do on a daily basis,” Coverstone said. As he worked through his powerpoint presentation and began detailing the statistics of recent cases, it was clear that the Rotarians were surprised by the volume of drugs that flow through the State Patrol’s District 5 (Auglaize, Champaign, Clark, Darke, Greene, Logan, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, Shelby and Union counties).
Coverstone introduced Barhorst and his narcotics dog, Roy, both of whom work with Coverstone as part of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Piqua Criminal Patrol Unit. Barhorst explained that Roy lives in his home as part of the family, and the patrol pays all of the expenses for the dog.
“Roy is the best partner that I’ve ever had,” Barhorst said. “He’s ready to go to work every morning, he never tells me I’m wrong, and never tells me to stop singing in the car!”
Barhorst and Coverstone provided a demonstration in which Roy quickly found the parcel that contained drugs. Barhorst pointed out that a dog’s sense of smell is so highly developed that they can smell a single molecule of a drug, estimated at one part in a billion.
Barhorst noted that most drug dogs are raised in Germany and The Netherlands. “They are work dogs,” Barhorst stated. “Dogs raised in the United States are more show dogs, and there is a decided difference.”
Coverstone and Barhorst answered numerous questions including the cost of a new dog ($10,000 to $15,000 including training the handler), the number of dogs working in the Piqua District (currently four), whether local drugs could be traced to the Mexican drug cartel, (yes), and the reward Roy receives after he finds drugs (a toy).