In 2019, the Randolph County Sheriff's Office created a formal Canine Unit. Sgt. Russell Hogan was tasked with developing a formal canine policy, establishing standard operating procedures, selecting canine teams consisting of a handler and a suitable, well-trained canine partner, and developing in-house training plans. Since then, dual-purpose canine teams have been added to patrol and the Criminal Interdiction Team- Urban Interstate. Dual purpose canines are trained in drug detection, tracking, article search and criminal apprehension.
Additionally, single purpose canine teams were added to the Vice Unit and the Community Based Programs Division.
The Sheriff’s Office was already equipped with two single-purpose bloodhounds used for tracking missing persons and article searches. However, one bloodhound is nearing retirement. A bloodhound puppy was donated to the Sheriff’s Office and is currently being trained in-house to ensure succession of the canine program.
All of the canines must meet training requirements throughout the year and also have to be re-certified in their expertise, annually. Our canine handlers must formally train with their canine partners a minimum of eight hours mandatory training per week; some of that training is conducted in-house and some with other agencies. Our canine handlers are deputies who volunteer to take on the additional duty of training and caring for our canine officers. Canine Handlers are on-call to respond for service.
Currently, the Sheriff’s Office has ten working canines: Bronx, a Belgian Malinois dual purpose assigned to the Urban Criminal Interdiction Team; Gunny, a German Shepherd, dual purpose assigned to the Interstate Criminal Interdiction Team; Ripley, a Belgian Malinois, single purpose for narcotics assigned to the Vice Narcotics Division; Red, a Bloodhound assigned to the Patrol Division for tracking; Odie, a Bloodhound assigned to Criminal Interdiction for tracking. Sarge, a German Shepherd and Taz, a Belgium Malinois, both dual purpose assigned to the Patrol Division; Ziva, a dual purpose Czech Shepherd; Frank, a Maliherd (Malinois/German Shepherd mix), dual purpose assigned to the Interstate Criminal Interdiction Team; and Cooper, a Dutch Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix, a single purpose for narcotics assigned to Community Based Programs Division for detection at the schools. Dixie, a Bloodhound in training for tracking.
The canines are also active in the community by conducting demonstrations for church groups, organizations, school functions and other local businesses. The demonstrations may consist of various activities such as mock narcotic searches, tracking, obedience and simulated apprehensions.
Canines are an incredible and valuable tool used by law enforcement. These canine partners make a deputy’s job more efficient by often reducing the time it takes to apprehend offenders, locate missing persons, locate evidence or find narcotics. The Canine Unit strives to have canine teams available at all times to assist with incidents when a canine team can be utilized. The Canine Unit often assists police departments within the county as well as surrounding agencies.
Deployment statistics and more information on the Canine Unit can be found in the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office 2021 Annual Report.
To request a demo email Sgt. Russell Hogan.