CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Gov. Jim Justice helped to announce a new West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) Police K-9 program at the State Culture Center in Charleston on Tuesday.

“These highly trained and skilled canines, alongside our dedicated DNR Police officers, will serve as a powerful force for good in our state and communities by protecting our natural resources and ensuring the safety of all who call West Virginia home,” said Gov. Justice.

During the WVDNR Law Enforcement Section ceremony, it was announced that “each of the WVDNR’s six districts will receive one K-9,” according to a WVDNR release.

These K-9, German short and wire haired pointers and labrador retrievers, will be trained to perform search and rescue operations and assist in “human tracking, article searches and wildlife detection and evidence recovery,” and will be handled by trained WVDNR Police officers.

“The launch of this K-9 program marks a significant milestone in our efforts to enhance public safety and protect our natural resources,” said WVDNR director Brett McMillion. “We’re excited to welcome these canines to the force and we’re grateful to Gov. Justice for getting behind this program and for his continued support of West Virginia’s beautiful natural resources.”

At the ceremony, Gov. Jim Justice also made the surprise announcement that all WVDNR Police officers would receive a $6,000 pay raise.

For more information about the WVDNR Police, you can visit WVdnr.gov/law-enforcement.

The full event can be viewed here.