National Dog Day helps rescue dogs and honors dogs who put their lives on the line.
The Sheriff’s Office celebrates the day by honoring the K9 Unit of eight deputies and their dog partners.
Sgt. Lee Young leads the Sheriff’s Office’s K9 Unit and partners with K9 Ely.
The primary function of the RCSO K9’s is the location of contraband, the location of suspects fleeing capture and/or the location of citizens who may have become lost in the woods.
Other handlers and their K9’s in the unit are:
• Cpl. Scott Martin with Sampson.
• Deputy Brad Harwell with Tiko.
• Deputy Michael Romans with Georgia.
• Deputy Stephen Massey with Argo.
• Deputy Sarah Blair with Appie.
• Deputy Matt Kunce with Izar.
• Deputy Richard Tidwell with Fred.
Sampson, Tiko, Appie, Argo, Izar and Ely are dual purpose patrol dogs certified with their handlers in narcotics detection as well as tracking and criminal apprehension.
Certifications are earned annually though the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association maintained with weekly training sessions.
The dual purpose K9’s are used for scent detection of narcotics around vehicles as well as inside and around buildings. The dual purpose K9’s search for evidence and articles in fields, wooded areas or within brush to locate narcotics and/or articles with human odor including guns, knives or cell phones.
Dual purpose K9’s are also deployed for tracks, area searches outside and building searches to apprehend offenders who may armed with a weapon or engaged in violent criminal activity. In many situations, the presence of a K9 has a deescalating effect on an offender who otherwise may not comply.
Georgia and Fred are single purpose bloodhounds used for tracking.
The bloodhounds are used for search and rescue. The bloodhounds look for missing people and are occasionally used to track offenders depending on time frame.
The bloodhounds start a track by using a scent article worn or touched by a specific person while the dual purpose dogs will trail the strongest human scent. The bloodhounds can work older tracks, as much as a couple days or older.
Sheriff’s Office K9 teams assist other divisions and agencies to include the Adult Detention Center, SWAT team, Criminal Investigations and Warrants and surrounding local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.