Kadlec Regional Hospital to add K9 in the new year

Kadlec Hospital To Expand K9 Unit

RICHLAND, Wash. – As snow coated the ground on Monday morning, K9 employee Colonel with Kadlec showed off his skills.

“He just can’t wait to get up every morning and get to work,” handler Phil Reams said.

Colonel is a five-year-old German Shephard who patrols Kadlec main campus in Richland. The program started in 2019, as the first handler and K9 team at any local hospital.

Reams said not only does Colonel help keep the campus safe, he brings joy to staff and patients.

“Just walking down the hall they’ll get a smile on their face,” Reams said.

RELATED: Kadlec to launch K9 program in 2019

In the new year, Kadlec is bringing on an additional K9 unit. Employees said the dog will be trained to detect explosives, unlike Colonel, who can sniff out narcotics.

“We’ll go down to Alabama and train for about eight weeks and they’ll get to know each other then we’ll bring them here and they’ll be ready to go,” Reams said the training is vigorous.

Reams, who used to work at the Benton County Jail, said it’s rewarding to work with Man’s Best Friend. He explained if tensions are high, usually it helps to just bring Colonel into the room. Reams said as workplace violence at hospitals rises, it’s important to have K9’s like Colonel.

“Since we’ve adopted this program we’ve seen that our use of force have gone way down,” he said.

Employees with Kadlec said the new dog should be on campus by spring 2022. They hope to increase the hours the dogs can be on patrol and bring them to Kadlec’s other campuses like urgent cares or the freestanding ER in Kennewick.