K-9 joins Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force

Maverick, a 1-year-old black Labrador, will be available to law enforcement agencies across the Northland.

Officer poses with dog.
Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force Investigator Taylor Stutsman and Maverick.
Contributed / Duluth Police Department
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DULUTH — The regional drug task force has a new four legged-member who specializes in sniffing out narcotics.

K-9 Maverick, a 1-year-old black Labrador, joined the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force this week. He is paired with Duluth police investigator Taylor Stutsman on the law enforcement collaborative that serves St. Louis, Carlton, Douglas and Lake counties.

The task force has long sought a single-purpose narcotics dog, Lt. Chad Nagorski said, and that has now been made possible by federal funding.

“The Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force (is) funded through a number of federal and state grants,” said Nagorski, who took over command of the unit in February. “One federal grant we were able to secure is the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area grant, which will pay for all of K-9 Maverick’s expenses.”

Stutsman and Maverick completed training last week at McDonough K-9 in Anoka, Minnesota, and hit the streets Monday. While based in Duluth, the dog is considered a regional asset and will be available to all task force partner agencies.


“I feel extremely proud to be a part of the Lake Superior Drug and Violent Crime Task Force and am very excited to add Maverick to our team,” said Stutsman, a nearly 10-year Duluth police veteran who has spent the past 3 1/2 years with the task force. "We look forward to putting our training to work and forwarding our mission of removing harmful substances from the streets.”

The department has already seen 20 incidents involving intentional or accidental gunfire this year, Chief Mike Tusken said.

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