​​​AGE’s currency detection dog receives national certification

Oct. 26, 2023

​​​​​​​AGE Agent Brad Rezny works with his K-9 partner BiaAlcohol and Gambling Enforcement Agent Brad Rezny and his K-9 partner Bia demonstrate her skills.

Over the past year, K-9 Bia and her handler Special Agent Brad Rezny have located currency in shopping bags underneath basement steps, tucked behind a wall-mounted TV and hidden under all kinds of furniture.

Bia — a 2-year-old German shorthaired pointer trained to locate U.S. currency — marked her first anniversary with our Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement (AGE) division by becoming the first currency K-9 in the nation certified by the North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA). NAPWDA is one of the highest standards in the country, requiring the K-9 and handler team to find 12 sets of currency in a variety of environments, from buildings to luggage to vehicles.

Bia was imported from Hungary and can sniff out cash hidden in homes, buildings, vehicles or buried in a yard. She spent three months pre-training with the Minnesota State Patrol to recognize currency odors and build her search skills. Since then, Rezny and Bia have trained regularly to keep her skills sharp, in addition to working on criminal cases involving illegal gambling, unlicensed alcohol sales and distribution, and stolen funds from charitable gambling.

The team has proven invaluable to our agency. AGE oversees two highly regulated industries, both of which evolve constantly. The team balances providing service to the industry with protecting the public to make sure everyone in Minnesota can enjoy a friendly wager or alcoholic beverage responsibly. It's a complicated and time-consuming job, but Bia and Rezny allow AGE to use its resources more efficiently.

“Typically, special agents would have to go through every room of a house, finding currency that's been hidden inside of furniture, floorboards and clothing," Rezny​​ said. “Bia is able to search a house or a car in a fraction of the time it would take a group of us to search that."

It saves time and allows for less property destruction while conducting a thorough search. Her skills help law enforcement find stolen or illegal money, interrupt the flow of funds for illegal activities and get restitution for victims of theft.

To receive the certification, the team needed to receive a 91.66 percent on the test, conducted by NAPWDA. The organization is recognized nationally for its third-party accreditation program, as well as its dedication to the training of K-9s.

Bia is one of two currency detection dogs in Minnesota. The other works out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.