(Photo courtesy of the Wyoming Highway Patrol)
After a successful, eight-year career sniffing out contraband on state highways, retired Wyoming Highway Patrol K-9 “Kato” passed away Wednesday.
Kato’s career with the WHP started in 2008, where he was trained as a narcotics detection K-9 and he was assigned to Trooper Jason Green.
In 2011, Kato was reassigned to Trooper Brandon Deckert after Green was promoted to lieutenant.
During his tenure, Kato performed more than 300 searches, resulting in the discovery and seizure of 277 pounds of marijuana, 5.4 pounds of methamphetamine, and nearly $200,000 in drug trafficking-related currency.
Kato also located various amounts of other drugs, such as LSD and psilocybin, and five firearms. One firearm was secured from a school.
Additionally, Kato was instrumental in two searches that aided federal investigators in their hunt for domestic and international terrorists.
When he wasn’t patrolling Wyoming’s highways, Kato helped Deckert perform a number of presentations for community functions and schools.
Over time, Deckert and Kato grew close, with the K-9 serving as a steady rock during difficult times in Deckert’s career.
Kato had been a beloved family member and partner to Deckert, and a valuable member of the WHP’s K-9 team.