The Forest Park Police Department’s newest member has a very sensitive nose: one that will prompt him, at times, to dig or bite to get what he’s after. Having recently completed training to perform specialized drug searches and suspect apprehensions, village officials enthusiastically support the hiring of this new recruit.

His name is Bear and he’s an 18-month-old German Shepherd, who, along with his partner and handler Officer Dan Miller, will work primarily to locate narcotics.

According to police, Bear’s skills are many. A press release from the Mayor’s Press Office states that Bear is “certified in narcotic detection for cannabis, cocaine (powder and crack), heroin, meth and currency which contains narcotic residue. Bear can also search an area for articles which have been discarded by criminals … can search buildings or areas for missing persons, and can track footprints to locate either a missing person of a criminal suspect.”

Miller is currently the only officer trained to handle the dog, but Police Chief Jim Ryan said another officer, Sgt. Tim Adams has been “socialized” with him.

“We are unable to officially swear him in,” joked Mayor Anthony Calderone, during the June 27 meeting where Bear was publicly introduced. “Maybe we can get him to raise his right paw and go woof, woof.”