The Maine State Police now has a new K9 Team to add to its roster.

Trooper Corey Smith and K9 Cody graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy’s Basic K9 Patrol Dog School May 28. They join Trooper Shawn Porter and K9 Tex as a K9 Team for Troop D of the Maine State Police, which oversees Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Waldo and Knox counties, as well as parts of Kennebec and Cumberland counties.

During the 12-week training program, Smith, 38, and Cody, a 2-year-old German Shepherd, underwent what Smith referred to as a crawl-walk-run theory of training, beginning with the baby steps of basic obedience and eventually mastering apprehension skills.

Smith, who has been with the Maine State Police since 2006, said the training is intense, and the dogs undergo “very stressful” exercises and tests, after which they are judged by certified trainers on their mastery of various tasks.

Because of this, dog trainers with the Maine State Police pre-select dogs based on their temperament and behavior. Trainers present potential K9 dogs with various situations and observe their reactions to these situations.

Smith said K9 dogs, who join Maine State Police troopers as both work and family dogs, have to be overall friendly and accepting of new people. But they also have to be confident and show signs that they will be able to perform. Cody presented all of these attributes.

“He’s a great dog,” Smith said. “He gets along really well with my family and he’s done a great job so far.”

After graduating from the dog patrol training program, Smith and Cody went right to work, responding to four calls for assistance in tracking within a two-week period. They even took part in a search in the Nobleboro area for Wayne Collamore, a felon who escaped from a Portland halfway house at the end of May and was eventually found in Owls Head weeks later.

Smith and Cody will continue official training twice monthly with Maine State Police dog trainers. Unofficial training, he said, goes on every day. Smith said he continues to test Cody’s obedience in typical, everyday situations and works at reinforcing commands.

The team will spend a year strengthening their cohesiveness, utilizing their training, and working initially on tracking individuals or lost evidence. Eventually, Smith said, their focus could expand to specialties such as narcotics or cadaver detection, one of the specialties of K9 team Porter and Tex.

“It has been great,” Smith said of his partnership with Cody. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding and fun. I wouldn’t do anything else. K9s like Cody are very special. They have a great nose and we’re really lucky to have them as another tool in the toolbox.”