Congratulations to Officer Ryan Huteson and K9 Delta!


SPD K9 team locate two firearms in one evening

Date: February 28, 2024

Seattle Police Department Patrol K9s are excellent when it comes to locating dangerous suspects attempting to hide from the police, but did you know that they’re also great at finding evidence? This recent evidence search by K9 Delta is an awesome example!

On an evening at the start of February, Officer Ryan Huteson and K9 Delta were dispatched to a location in Kent to assist officers with the Kent Police Department, who were attempting to find a firearm that had been involved in a shooting roughly two hours prior. When Huteson and Delta arrived at the scene, Kent officers quickly brought them up to speed, explaining that officers had observed one of the suspects as they raced out of the suspect vehicle, ran to a fence in the corner of the parking lot, jumped over it, and fled into a dark, wooded area.

All while carrying an AR-style weapon.

Kent officers further explained that thanks to the King County Sheriff’s Office Air Support Unit (Guardian 1), the suspect had been quickly located.

Once found, however, the suspect no longer had the weapon.

Huteson deployed K9 Delta for an on-lead evidence search in the wooded area. In addition to dark conditions, the two were faced with dense blackberry brambles, sticker bushes, and other vegetation. As K9 Delta began searching, Huteson watched him carefully for enhanced scent indicators, which he began to notice as they moved southeast towards a chain link fence that parallels SR-167. As they got within 10 – 15 feet of the fence, Delta began giving proximity alert warnings, which told Huteson that they were very close to the source of the scent.

This is a key part of being a K9 handler. In order to be a successful team, K9 handlers must be deeply in-tune with their dog’s indicators and must be willing to trust what their dog is telling them. Huteson and K9 Delta have over 1,500 documented hours of training as a team, and their record reflects that experience. Last year, the two were honored as the 2022 K9 Team of the Year and for the 2022 K9 Track of the Year.

Huteson tightened up on Delta’s lead and cautiously allowed him to proceed towards the source of the scent, moving slowly to prevent him from contacting a potentially dangerous firearm. They arrived at a muddy area roughly 10 feet from the fence, and Delta headed nose first straight into a cluster of sticker bushes. Huteson pulled him back and illuminated the area, finding a black AR-style firearm hidden within the prickly foliage.

Huteson rewarded Delta for a job well done, and Kent officers took custody of the rifle.

Next, Kent officers informed Huteson that a second suspect had been spotted in a densely wooded area roughly 400 feet to the west, where they had possibly hidden a second firearm. Huteson and K9 Delta were joined by SPD ABS Officer Jake Nelson and ABS K9 Chip, but the two teams came up empty.

Well… Almost empty.

K9 Delta indicated at a thick patch of sticker bushes, but officers were unable to thoroughly search the area because they didn’t have the tools needed to cut through the dense foliage. Huteson suggested to the Kent detective on scene that Kent PD return the next day to finish searching the bushes where Delta had indicated.

Sure enough, they contacted Huteson the following day, and told him that Delta’s nose was right on the money and that they’d recovered a handgun.

Suspects on the run don’t pay attention to geographical boundaries and these firearms could have easily caused further harm in Kent, Seattle, or beyond. Thanks to Huteson and Delta, they’re off the streets for good.

Officer Huteson has been with SPD for 15 years and has been partnered with K9 Delta since February of 2018. K9 Delta was purchased by Seattle Police Foundation donors and is an incredible ambassador for SPD! He is not only a highly skilled tracking/patrol dog with numerous captures under his ‘collar,’ but he is also friendly and affectionate (when he’s not working) and loves meeting Seattle community members.

Thank you Officer Huteson and K9 Delta!