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Formed in November, 1997, the Sheriff’s Police K-9 Unit originally consisted of 8 officer-German Shepherd teams. The last original German Shepherd retired from service in 2004.
This Unit now consists of 8 officer- Belgian Malinois teams. Since 2004, 200 new police dogs have been trained and 1,250 police dogs have been recertified by the unit’s Master Trainer, who was named 2009 Master Trainer of the Year by the North American Police Work Dog Association. Another officer is a dual handler: in addition to his Belgian Malinois, he also works with the department’s only Bloodhound, Melanie, who in her two years of service has successfully tracked and found five missing individuals.
The K-9 Unit responds to hundreds of requests for assistance each year from the Sheriff’s Police and local, Federal and State agencies. Canine teams are utilized in locating narcotics, finding missing persons, search and rescue missions and locating fugitives.