Two new furry patrol officers in department
Published 7:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2015
The Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department recruited two new furry patrol officers.
In December, the department received Ace, a full-blooded German shepherd, and Kilo, a German shepherd and Belgian malinois mix. The department’s K-9 unit now consists of six male dogs, who are each assigned to a division in the department.
Cpl. Brian Anthony, who’s been the department’s K-9 trainer since May, is currently training Kilo and Ace.
“There’s no facility at the department, so I’m training them first at my home,” Anthony said.
In December, both dogs were purchased from a vendor in North Carolina. Anthony said the funds came from the generosity of local businesses and the department’s budget.
“But when Ace first came here, he didn’t have a name,” Anthony said. “So we spoke to Mr. Alan Lumpkin with the Pearl River County school district and asked if students at Pearl River Central Elementary School could do a competition to come up with a name for him.”
In the end, a second grade class came up with the winning name. Anthony said the department plans on personally awarding the class with a plaque in February.
“These dogs get a bad rep for being jaws on a leash, but we want the community to be involved and see that these dogs have heart,” Anthony said.
For the past six years, he’s been working alongside his own furry partner named Nix.
“I know that he’ll always protect me,” Anthony said. “The way we feel about it is that the dogs are a very valuable tool. Basically you can count on them as a partner in the vehicle. If trouble arises or if a subject becomes combative, we can use the dog as force. The dog can actually assist the officers and take down subject,” Anthony said.
After Anthony finishes training Kilo, the dog will be assigned to a patrol officer, and will live with the officer in what is called the bonding phase.
“It’s very important that both the dog and the handler get to know one another,” Anthony said.
Currently, there are two dogs assigned to patrol officers, one is assigned to the interstate criminal enforcement unit, and another one is assigned to a narcotics detective in the department.
After the bonding phase, Anthony said the dog will go through an intensive two-week training period. After the training period, the dog and the handler will have to prove they can work together in a real-life setting in order for the dog to be certified.
“The handler and dog will have to prove that they can go in a building and find narcotics. The dog needs to show that they know the scent of narcotics and the handler has to show that he can read the dog accurately,” Anthony said.
Since Kilo is a mixed-breed, Anthony said he’s at an advantage.
“In this climate, short hair is better suited and he won’t have such a problem with hip replacement or any physical conditions normally associated with German shepherds,” Anthony said. “But while Belgians tend to have an aggressive and go-getter personality, German’s tend to be more methodical.”
Since Kilo is turning 18 months in February, Anthony expects he will be certified by mid-March and ready to go out on the field with his handler.
Anthony said Ace is still too young, but once he reaches 18 months, he’ll become certified to work with a patrol officer of his own.
In the future, Anthony hopes to get the community more involved with the K-9 unit.
“The more we get the dogs out and do demonstrations out in the community, the more people will see them in a better light,” Anthony said.