(Editor's note: The Globe will be covering each of this year's Citizen's Police Academy classes held by the Dodge City Police Department (DCPD). This is the seventh article in the series.)

(Editor's note:  The Globe will be covering each of this year's Citizen's Police Academy classes held by the Dodge City Police Department (DCPD). This is the seventh article in the series.)
The primary illicit drugs police officers see in Dodge City are marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine. But, in addition to the illegal drugs in town, the officers also deal with a lot of prescription drug abuse
Det. J.L. Bice of the DCPD credits the use of prescription drugs to their availability based on the fact that, when used properly, medications like Xanax and Oxycodone, for example, are not illegal.
During his presentation, Bice outlined the characteristics and effects of each of the drugs. In his time with the department, Bice has seen nearly every kind of drug used every way imaginable. He shared photos of meth labs, paraphernalia and drug users as well as stories of cases he has investigated.
According to Bice, the DCPD has dealt with the emergence of a drug called khat in recent years. Khat, pronounced “cot,” is commonly used in particular migrant populations in the United States. In Dodge, it is usually concentrated within Somalian communities.
Bice described khat as having several of the same characteristics as methamphetamine, causing euphoria as well as manic behaviors, insomnia and hyperactivity. Interestingly, it is legal in countries like Somalia and Ethiopia.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, khat has been grown for use as a stimulant for centuries in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. In some countries, raw khat is chewed in a social context and predates the use of coffee. Khat is also often used as a leaf to brew a tea or stew or mixed with food. While the presence of most drugs is widespread, Bice said khat is a very tribal stimulant and is held tight within the migrant population.
As is the case with most drugs, Bice said the DCPD is always on the lookout for khat. But some drugs and drug paraphernalia are easier to identify than others, and depending on how desperately the user wants to hide their stash, the department may have to do some digging.
Bice said it is common to find used supplies and kits used for making meth in fields and ditches in Ford County. He showed the class photos of dismantled meth labs and identified the tell-tale signs of a “cook,” the nickname for the process of making methamphetamine.
In addition to Bice's presentation, the class was scheduled to learn about the DCPD's K-9 unit, Chance. But since his retirement in September, the Belgian Malinois won't be making anymore appearances at the department. According to the DCPD web site, Chance was required to undergo an intensive 10-week training program through the Kansas Highway Patrol Police Service Dog Unit to become proficient at his work. He was taught obedience, patrol skills, along with narcotic detection skills. After his 10-week basic school he became certified under the International Police Dog Standard. Once certified, he was required to continue training 10 hours a week.
The department is hoping to get another dog in the future.
Next week's class will include a presentation by the Detective Bureau on major case investigations as well as processing crime scenes and evidence responsibilities.