K-9 units provide a valuable service

Published 9:13 am Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In my last column I discussed our patrol division and briefly touched on the fact that a K-9 team is assigned to each patrol shift. In this column I want to elaborate on our K-9 unit.

First of all, a K-9 team is made up of a handler and dog. In order to become a handler certain criteria must be met.

The deputy must have demonstrated initiative, proactivity, community interaction, and commitment. The dog must possess certain personality traits to qualify as a law enforcement K-9 and these traits must also mesh with the handler.

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The Sheriff’s Department recently retired two of its dogs due to age and health issues. We have found two dogs that are suitable replacements in order to fully staff the K-9 unit. We are accepting contributions from individuals and businesses for the purchase of K-9’s.

If you are interested in making a donation, make a check payable to Pearl River County Deputies Association and mail it to, Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department attention K-9 Unit 200 South Main Street Poplarville, MS 39470. All donations are greatly appreciated!

This past spring, Corporal Brian Anthony attended training at the Institute of Police Technology and Management in Jacksonville, FL to manage our K-9 unit. He then attended a five week handler trainer course, which certified him to train handlers and dogs.

What that means for this department is a savings in the expense of training a dog and certifying/re-certifying each K-9 team. With his training background, Corporal Anthony will also be able to enhance the K-9 unit’s monthly training.

Our K-9 unit has been an asset to this department. Some people might believe that these K-9 teams are only used to search for illegal drugs.

While this is true, they do so much more. The dogs are used for handler protection.

Each K-9 vehicle is equipped with a “hot and pop” system which allows the handler to remotely release the dog from the vehicle if he/she needs assistance in the event the handler is involved in a physical confrontation.

This system also notifies the handler if the temperature in the vehicle rises to an unacceptable level for the dog.

Our K-9 teams also track individuals, whether it is to track a fleeing offender or a missing child.

There have been a number of instances where the mere presence of the dog prevents injuries to both the handlers and offenders.

I firmly believe these K-9 teams are worth the investment due to the all the benefits I described.

By Sheriff David Allison