NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WJBF) – In North Augusta, a recent graduate is already excelling on the job. A K9 police dog made a big bust, and it all happened on her very first week of work.

The K9, whose name is Blaze, is still just a puppy, not even a year old yet. Her handler, Public Safety Officer Mitch McBride, told NewsChannel 6 it usually takes about 4 months to train a police dog before starting to train with a handler, but she just blew right through it.

“She’s actually a very, very young dog, but she caught on very very fast. So they had her for probably, maybe a month or so, if that. And she caught on to everything that she needed to do and she’s completely certified and ready to go,” said McBride.

PSO Mitch McBride and Blaze. Photo courtesy North Augusta Public Safety.

McBride has been a member of the Aiken County Bloodhound Tracking Team for more than two years. Blaze, a black lab, is his first K9 partner (a dual purpose narcotics and tracking dog.)

“And then I went up there and was introduced to her and then spent 4 weeks training with her and letting her teach me what to do, so…”

McBride and Blaze were 5 days into their first week on the job when she made her first bust.

On May 21st, North Augusta Public Safety Officers responded to the area of US-1 and I-520 for a vehicle collision that caused one vehicle to overturn.

The driver of the at fault vehicle took off on foot into a nearby wooded area.

This was PSO McBride’s first deployment of his new partner.

“As we’re going through the woods she alerted to a bag that was on the ground. Turned out to be suspected- a pretty large quantity of suspected methamphetamine,” explained McBride. “She looked at it, paid attention to it, got back on the track and I think within 4 minutes, if that, maybe three or four minutes, we found the suspect. He had kind of laid down and buried himself under the ground kind of. And she actually ended up jumping on top of him.”

Blaze is not just McBride’s partner– she is now a part of his family.

“I have two kids and a wife and two other pets at home- two other dogs. So it’s definitely a big commitment. We’ve had to adjust and are still learning how to adjust. She’s only been with me at home for, like I said, a little over a week now. So, we still don’t have everything figured out but we’re getting there,” he said.

McBride has high hopes for Blaze’s future as a K9 narcotics and tracking dog.

“She’s not even a year old yet. So I expect her to get nothing but better.”

Blaze will turn 1-year-old Saturday, May 27, and McBride said he is looking forward to a long and successful partnership with her.

Photojournalist: Will Baker.