DARKE COUNTY — A graduation ceremony was held at the Darke County Sheriff’s Office to congratulate one of their own and welcome a new member on Wednesday.
Deputy Colton Magel and his new K-9 partner, Bear, after 252 hours of training, graduated with family, co-workers, city leaders, and members of the Southwest Regional K-9 Training Group Inc., in attendance.
Preble County Deputy Matt Lunsford, a trainer with Southwest Regional, shared how Deputy Magel and two-year-old German Shephard, Bear, were certified earlier that day.
“They’ll do a good job,” said Lunsford as he explained how Bear is dual-purpose and will not only detect four major drugs (odors) but evidence recovery, fleeing suspects, missing child, search buildings, and officer protection.
Southwest Regional K-9 Training Group Inc. covers several counties in the region, with the K-9 academy a collaboration with the Darke County Sheriff’s Office.
According to Deputy Lunsford, K-9 units are a necessity when it comes to the war on drugs with Deputy Magel and Bear to be one of two K-9 units in the county.
While the hard work is, for the most part, over, the new unit will be required to complete 16 hours of training every month, if not more.
“It’s a commitment,” said Deputy Lunsford for both trainer and dog to maintain their skills. “This handler here (Deputy Magel) is a go-getter. He’s got the fever, is what I call it. They’ll do an excellent job.”
Deputy Magel was excited and thankful for the new opportunity.
“I’m very excited. It’s been a passion of mine,” said Deputy Magel after certification and before the graduation ceremony was to begin. “I’ve always wanted to be a K-9 handler, and I’m thankful Darke County has given me that opportunity.”
Deputy Magel expressed his passion for animals, particularly dogs, and how the K-9 aspect provides a sense of fulfillment. When the opening for a K-9 unit opened, he jumped at the opportunity. There were no major hiccups during training, he said, with multiple state-certified evaluations on Bear before training even began. The deputy also expressed thanks for Southwest Regional K-9 Training Group Inc.
Originally from the West Milton and the Englewood area, and a Milton-Union High School graduate, Deputy Magel has been with the DCSO for two years. He began his law enforcement career as a corrections officer for the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.
“I love it out here,” said Deputy Magel on Darke County. “I would not give (up) my job for anything. I love it.”
During the graduation ceremony, on behalf of Sheriff Toby Spencer, Bear was recognized as a deputy of the Darke County Sheriff’s Office with proper documentation to be a law enforcement K-9.
Darke County Chief Deputy Mark Whittaker gave a special thanks to Sergeant Ted Priest with the Dayton Airport Police, Sergeant Teddy Trupp from the Dayton Police Department, and Chief Chuck Wirick of Jackson Center.
Reach reporter Bethany J. Royer-DeLong at 937/548-3330 or email email@example.com. Read more news, features, and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.