New K9 helps in six arrests
Published 9:47 pm Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Dog introduced to commissioners
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office introduced new K9 Ike to county commissioners and answered questions about the new dog during a meeting Sept. 9.
K9 officer Ronnie Russell said Ike helped the sheriff’s office in six arrests last week and was able to take three to four guns off the streets.
Polk County Sheriff Donald Hill explained that Ike is able to go anywhere his trainer goes, much like a seeing-eye dog. He also explained there are new laws against persons harassing or assaulting K9s, where someone could be charged. Harassment against a K9 is a misdemeanor and an assault against a K9 is a felony. Interim county manager Marche Pittman, who formerly served as a county magistrate, said assault on an officer is still a misdemeanor.
Hill also explained that Ike, a German Shepherd the county received in August when the dog was 15 months old, is trained differently than former K9s. Hill said you can take a 5-year-old child who is missing and Ike won’t be aggressive when he finds the child. Some K9s are trained to be aggressive when they locate what they are trained to and, Hill said.
Ike is trained in narcotics, tracking, building searches, article and area searches and criminal apprehension. Hill said Ike is not trained in explosives, after being asked by an audience member.
Other questions included whether or not Ike would be fitted with a bullet-proof vest. Russell said the sheriff’s office currently has a vest for the dog to use until he is full-grown. Hill said it would be up to Russell when to utilize a bullet-proof vest because in some situations the sheriff’s office doesn’t want the dog weighed down.
Ike weighed 77.8 pounds during training; it is not known what he will be at maximum size.
Another audience member asked if the sheriff’s office will get any more K9s. Polk County currently has two K9s with the addition of Ike, who was a replacement to Trixie, another German Shepherd that suddenly died of cancer earlier this year. The community, county commissioners and the sheriff’s office contributed $11,500 to purchase Ike.
Hill said most K9s serve nine to 10 years until the sheriff’s office retires them out.
Hill said Ike has already helped the sheriff’s office in several arrests, including during an Aug. 29 joint operation where Ike found drugs in vehicles.
“The first four or five arrests came from the first four cars this dog was put on,” Hill said. “We found some stuff we were anticipating, but also found some new drugs like Molly.”
Molly is the powder or crystal form of MDMA, the chemical used in Ecstasy.