Doused with baby powder and hiding under a pile of dirty clothes, the man wanted on warrants thought he might have pulled one over on Youg-al, one of the Whitehall Division of Police's three K-9s.

"Youg-al was standing on his chest when he hit on him," said his handler, Whitehall Sgt. Dan Wardlow, foiling the man's attempt to hide.

Police saw the wanted man standing on the porch of a Bernhard Road residence in early December, but he bolted back inside, Wardlow said, then spread baby powder on his body and the floor in an attempt to thwart the dog's tracking acumen.

But Youg-al wasn't fooled.

"He will find you," Wardlow said.

Youg-al, a 4-year-old male Belgian Malinois, also can find bombs and other explosive devices.

He came with his name, which may derive from Dutch slang meaning "big boy," though Wardlow isn't certain.

Wardlow's K-9 partner is the division's only bomb-sniffing dog.

Whitehall's other two K-9s, Breti and Zara, specialize in narcotics tracking.

But all three are "dual trained" K-9s, also working as handler protectors, helping with article and building searches, human tracking and suspect apprehensions, Wardlow said.

The department's core of K-9s has increased threefold since officer Jesse Hackney became the department's first K-9 handler in June.

Today, he is paired with a new partner, Breti, a 19-month-old male Belgian Malinois.

Joining Hackney and Wardlow is officer Kyle Jacobs and his partner, Zara, a 2-year-old female Belgian Malinois.

Jacobs hit the streets last month.

"It's always been a dream of mine to have a dog in the car with me," Jacobs said. "It's a lot of fun having her in the back seat and going on these new adventures. We've only been on the streets (for a few weeks) so it's all new to both of us."

Hackney was selected from among other officers who expressed an interest in becoming the department's first K-9 handler.

Wardlow credits Hackney with laying the groundwork that established the K-9 unit.

"It was his proposal (to Chief Mike Crispen). The chief supports the K-9s, listened to what officer Hackney had to say and has backed it fully since then," as has Mayor Kim Maggard, Wardlow said.

Crispen said the department's K-9 units will provide a broad spectrum of benefits, including enhancing the safety of residents and officers, as well as helping with drug seizures and public relations.

"It's been a career goal of mine to be a K-9 officer," said Hackney, who has been a Whitehall police officer since 2009.

His powers of persuasion to get Whitehall to implement a K-9 program allowed Wardlow to realize his own dream of being a handler.

"I had kind of given up on it, but it was the one thing that I wanted to do before the end of my (police) career," said Wardlow, who has served in the department's detective bureau, narcotics unit and SWAT team.

"We plan to retire together," Wardlow, a 26-year-veteran, said of his K-9 partner.

The previous success of Whitehall police at taking drugs off the street made it possible to establish the K-9 unit.

The cost of the each unit -- estimated at $80,000 for the dog, a specially equipped vehicle and other equipment -- is funded with money that the department's narcotics bureau has seized, Crispen said.

Town and Country Animal Clinic provides veterinary care and boarding for the department's three K-9s, Wardlow said.

Whitehall police plan to add a fourth and final K-9, also a narcotics dog, in April, Wardlow said.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo