Dogs can and do have many functions in assisting people with tasks like herding livestock, protecting homes or finding things. During National Police Week, officers are recognized, honored and appreciated across the country. Canines, or K-9s, are used in police work and are considered officers. They are chosen from breeders who breed police dogs, are trained from an early age and maintain training throughout their law enforcement career.
Canines can be used for a variety of police work. Some dogs are trained to find narcotics, missing persons outside or in buildings, articles like guns and paraphernalia and apprehending criminals.
Each law enforcement agency has their own K-9 unit, and the dogs can be as expensive at $10,000. They receive extensive training on a continued basis at a variety of facilities, including K2 Solutions in Derby. Law enforcement officials said the dogs are as valuable as any person, and have assisted in crime fighting accomplishments.
Breston, a 9-year-old male Dutch Shepherd from Four Winds Kennell in Holland, was assigned to Rockingham Police Officer G.A. Harris seven years ago. Officer Harris began his career in law enforcement in 2002. Breston’s favorite toy is a rubber cone, according to K-9 officers. He is proficient in bite work and recall as well as decoy work, and holds the highest certification in the International Police Work Dog Association. Breston is equipped with a bulletproof vest and a “hard head,” according to another K-9 officer. He is known to lunge a distance of three to four feet.
This German Shepherd works for the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, with Deputy Josh Chermak as his handler. He is 3 years old and has been on the force since July 2011. Chermak said Dyzio is from Poland, and Chermak speaks to him in Dutch commands. Dyzio is a multipurpose canine. He can track, find narcotics, search for things, search buildings and apprehend a suspect. He doesn’t care for other dogs much but he does like to play fetch. He receives weekly and monthly training on a variety of things, so nothing is ever the same and he is prepared for most any situation. In a short time, he has been successful in finding drugs like marijuana and crack cocaine. He has also found people and a cell phone in the woods.
Since December, this Czech Shepherd has been with his partner, Patrolman Steven Williams, who serves on the Traffic Team for Hamlet Police Department. Edy is 2 years old and was purchased through K2 Solutions. Edy is certified through the International Police Work Dog Association. Edy can find narcotics, missing people or hidden items, and is proficient in bite work. He serves as a patrol dog. Edy loves a Kong — a popular rubber dog toy — which he gets to play with as a reward. He plays in the backyard during his down-time and enjoys fetching his Kong. His first success on the job was finding a suspect in a building, along with a crack pipe.
This 6-year-old female Belgian Malonois has been working with her handler, Officer Joshua Glenn, for five years. She was born in the Czech Republic and purchased by the Hamlet Police Department in May of 2007 from Tarheel K-9 in Sanford. Kasey is certified with the International Police Work Dog Association, where she is recertified every two years. At least 16 hours of training are maintained every month for Kasey. Her favorite toy is a black Kong.
Kasey is qualified for traffic stops, narcotics, tracking and article searches. A bulletproof vest made of Kevlar, a tracking harness and a bite sleeve are equipment items used most commonly with Kasey.
Leica is an 11-year-old female Belgian Malonois from Four Winds Kennel in Holland. She is assigned to Patrolman Andy Ansley of the Rockingham Police Department, who has been in the line of duty since 1994. Leica and Officer Ansley have spent six years together in the K-9 division, and according to Officer Ansley, she has the best job in the department. Her favorite toys include a cone toy and a piece of fire hose.
She also holds the highest certification in the International Police Work Dog Association, and completes frequent training from her Master Trainer in Fayetteville. Leica is a full-service dog who is involved in all fields except bomb work. She is familiar with a tracking harness, a lead and a training collar. Ansley explained that Leica is proficient in a process called transporting, in which she is required to keep a person in custody in the immediate range of the officer.
She is experienced in fields such as narcotics and blind trails. Ansley said he remembered a time when she recovered a cordless phone in a trash can on a blind trail after a robbery.
“It’s days like that when she’s worth her weight in gold,” Ansley said with a smile. “Other days she’s only worth her weight in dog food.”
He explained that the K-9 dogs need vacations just like any other working employee.
When not on the job, Officer Ansley and Leica often explore the woods together, Ansley on his dirt bike and Leica following closely behind.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff Write Mallory Brown can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 16, or by email at email@example.com.