GREENVILLE — Earlier this month, the Darke County Friends of the Shelter presented a new protective vest to Darke County K9 Officer, Annie, and her partner, Deputy Tyler Young, as well as a new training body armor for the Darke County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit, presented to K9 Officer Bear, and his partner, Deputy Colton Magel.
The Darke County Sheriff’s Office has three working K9 Officers: Annie, Bear, and Eric.
Annie, a 2-year-old light red Bloodhound, is a single purpose officer whose duties involve tracking missing persons, including children, the elderly, or fugitives. Annie’s partner is Deputy Tyler Young.
“Annie is a great K9 Officer,” said Deputy Young. “She is Darke County’s first Bloodhound, and has assisted in numerous search and rescue operations here, as well as others neighboring counties. She is a very gentle dog who performs her duties extremely well, especially with lost or missing children and elderly adults.”
Bear, a 3-year-old black German Shepherd, is a dual-purpose patrol officer whose duties include narcotics, search and seizure, apprehension, tracking, article searches, as well as general search and recovery. Bear’s partner is Deputy Colton Magel.
“Bear is an excellent K9 Officer, alert and ready to go to work,” said Deputy Magel. “On average, Bear is deployed at least once every shift, every night and often, more than once. He is always focused on his mission when we are working.”
Eric, a 10-year-old German Shepherd, is a veteran K9 of the department, is currently a single-purpose officer working in the narcotics division. Eric’s partner is Deputy Jay Pearson.
According to the National Police Dog Foundation, most police dogs are German Shepherds, Malinois, Dutch Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, or Bloodhounds, depending on the nature of the duties he or she performs while working. Rottweilers and Doberman Pinchers are also used, but not as frequently. A purebred police K9 has an average cost of $8,000 (before training). Because police dogs require far more than the “basics,” they must be at least 12 to 15 months old before their service training can begin. Full training in patrol work, detection, and hard surface (urban) tracking can cost a department or agency upwards of $12,000 to $15,000, per dog, depending on the length of each class.
Patrol training (which includes obedience, agility, tracking, evidence searches, open area and building searches), and narcotics or explosives detection are the most common areas of training. Scent discrimination training is often used to help match a potential suspect to an object such as a weapon used in a crime, as well as to locate dead bodies, lost children, and the sick or elderly. A K9 officer will sit or lay down as close to the object as possible, to signal the presence of explosives or narcotics.
K-9 Officer Bear, who is also owned by Deputy Magel, received his training, along with Officers Annie and Eric, at Trifecta K-9 Southwest Regional Training Group, located in West Alexandria, which serves the law enforcement community throughout the Miami Valley region. In Ohio, K-9 Officers and their handlers must complete 250 hours of state-certified training, with an additional 16 hours (minimum) each month, while serving on-duty. In Darke County, K-9 officers usually complete between 20 and 30 hours of additional training per month.
When not on duty, Officers Annie, Bear, and Eric enjoy “regular dog life,” of playing, resting, and enjoying the company of family, friends, and other dogs.
“The K9 officer comes home with their handler and when not on duty, they are like every other dog,” said Deputy Magel. “But when the uniform goes on, Bear is ready to roll. He knows it’s time to go to work.”
To learn more about the Darke County Friends of the Shelter, visit the organization on Facebook, or at www.darkecountyfriendsoftheshelter.com. Have questions? Email [email protected]
Questions about Darke County’s K-9 Units? Contact the Darke County Sheriff’s Office, call 937-548-2020, or visit www.darkecountysheriff.org
Curious about Officer K-9 training? Visit Trifecta K-9 Southwest Regional Training Group on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Trifecta-K9, or call 937- 839-9616.