Officer Dan Torres considers his newest partner his best in his 17 years with the Omaha Police Department.

Peace, a nearly 2-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, is a good listener and doesn’t talk about herself. And, he said, “she’s the only partner allowed to kiss me.”

Peace is a trained explosive-detection dog. Torres and Peace recently trained with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. They started working last Monday.

Not only can Peace sniff out 19,000 different types of explosives, but she also can detect live ammunition, spent shell casings and firearms that have been used and discarded.

She is the only dog trained by the ATF in Nebraska, said Michael Parker, the resident agent in charge of ATF’s Omaha field office.

Torres is a former gang unit officer who also works as an ATF task force officer when needed. The Omaha Police Department was one of a handful of agencies across the nation allowed to have an officer train with an ATF dog for their use.

Torres listens to the police scanner for dispatches about shots being fired or of a suspect who may have tossed a gun. Then, he’ll go with Peace to search for evidence and call in the CSI unit.

Deputy Omaha Police Chief Greg Gonzalez said the duo easily can be dispatched within minutes to help street officers and check schools for weapons.

“We really feel that (Torres) and Peace are going to be a public safety game-changer,” he said.

During a demonstration Monday at Central Police Headquarters, Torres and Peace walked along a line of nearly a dozen aluminum cans, cardboard boxes and various lunchboxes, briefcases and backpacks.

“Seek!” Torres told Peace.

When she sniffed a gun inside a pink backpack, Peace calmly sat down.

“Good girl! Yessss. Good girl!” Torres said, rewarding her with some kibble.

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Peace eats her food only through training, so the pair trains every day, including a few hours on weekends.

The two still are bonding. Torres describes Peace as an independent dog that “pulls like a horse.” She began as a guide dog for the blind, but her stubbornness proved she could work in a law enforcement capacity.

In the first few weeks with Torres, she has chewed his clothes and tried to eat his toothpaste. But the two are buddies.

“She likes me when my hand is in the food bag and we’re ready to work,” Torres said.

Peace is one of 15 dogs in the Omaha Police Department. Gonzalez said four are bomb-detection dogs that work primarily at Eppley Airfield, nine are K-9s used for search and contraband purposes and another dog sniffs for drugs in the Omaha Public Schools.

Peace soon will get her “working dog” harness and shoes for hot summer days. If she stays healthy, she could work until she’s 9 or 10 years old.

alia.conley@owh.com, 402-444-1068

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