Meet Matka, the bomb-sniffing K-9 trusted with keeping the Minnesota Capitol safe

Bomb-sniffing K-9 keeps the state capitol safe

Bomb-sniffing K-9 keeps the state capitol safe

As foot traffic picks up at the Minnesota State Capitol during the end of the legislative session, one law enforcement officer and his K-9 partner are working to keep leaders and visitors safe.

With a wag of the tail and a pep in her step, Matka, Minnesota State Patrol K-9, dives into what she thinks is a serious game of hide and seek.

“She knows what to do. She uses her nose, which is 1,000 times more powerful than ours,” Minnesota State Trooper Todd Winters said.

But it’s not a game — the work is critical.

“If there’s an explosive or something like that, she’ll smell it where we can’t,” he said.

Winters has been by Matka’s side for the last year.

The Hungarian vizsla has spent the past eight years sweeping every inch of the State Capitol to sniff out bombs.

“It’s rewarding. It’s constant training, but it’s fun at the same time,” Winters said.

If she smells something suspicious, she’ll immediately sit and stare at the target without moving an inch.

“We’re here to keep the visitors safe. We’re here to keep the employees safe,” Winters said.

“This is the people’s house and people come in and out. That still means that we need to keep the building safe, and that’s what she’s doing. She’s doing a great job,” said Sen. Heather Gustafson, DFL-Vadnais Heights.

People love to tell her themselves by rewarding the K-9 with a pet and a smile.

Matka has fans around every corner, in person and online.

“I’ve heard all about her. I follow her on Twitter. My kids are obsessed with her,” Gustafson said.

The pup has over 1,000 followers on Twitter, capturing the hearts of Minnesotans with every post.

“Every time we see her, everybody smiles,” said Sen. John Hoffman, DFL-Champlin. “I see her and it brings me joy this year and ever since she was a little puppy when she first came here.”

Winters can relate.

It’s his first time having a furry partner that quickly became family.

“You trust the dog, the dog trusts you, and you’re a great working team together,” Winters said. 

Minnesota State Patrol Day is on Tuesday at the State Capitol. Matka will be there, ready to meet people in the community.