Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn M. Garvin welcomed the Division of Parks & Recreation’s two new additions to their ranks, canines Vos and Leo.

The canine officers are officially on the job after graduating Dec. 5 from the Delaware State Police Canine Program.

In August, Officers Trevor Ditmore and John Lister, of DNREC’s Natural Resources Police State Park’s Enforcement section, traveled to Vohne Liche Kennels in Indiana, selected the two dogs and brought them back to Delaware. The kennel, a full-service canine teaching facility, has trained police and military dogs for more than 5,000 enforcement and government agencies. The dogs received further training for 12 weeks at the Delaware State Police Academy, which also provided time to bond with their partners.

Ditmore will be stationed at Lums Pond State Park, and primarily serve northern state parks. He will be paired with Leo, a two-and-a-half-year-old German shepherd. Lister will be stationed with Vos, a three-year-old Belgian Malinois, at Cape Henlopen State Park, and mainly serve the southern Delaware state parks.

K-9 officers Vos and Leo are fully trained for, among other jobs, scent tracking and patrol. The two will be able to fulfill multiple tracking missions to recover lost hikers, missing children and the elderly and suspect apprehension. In addition to these duties, each canine team will specialize in either narcotic or explosive detection.

So far, more than $6,000 has been raised for the state parks K9 program by the Friends of Cape Henlopen State Park, the Blue Heron Agility Association of Delaware, and through private donations. The public can support the program with tax-deductible donations through the Delaware Community Foundation, P.O. Box 1636, Wilmington, DE 19899. The memo line should include Delaware State Parks K-9 Fund. The public can also contribute at bit.ly/2MvsfaS.