Adams County Sheriff’s Office to add new K9 officer

Published 11:57 pm Thursday, May 4, 2017


NATCHEZ — An Adams County Sheriff’s Office deputy is in Kaplan, La., training to bring home the community’s latest protector — a 4-year-old Dutch shepherd named Berry.

Cpl. Dustin Smith has two weeks under his belt at K9 Unlimited and three more weeks to go, said ACSO Maj. Shane Daugherty.

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“The dog is trained,” Daugherty said. “The training is just a matter of the handler getting to know the commands and bonding with Berry.”

Berry will be trained to perform three crime-fighting functions — tracking, detecting drugs and apprehension, Daugherty said.

Berry would also be utilized in public demonstrations with the youth and other organizations, Daugherty said.

Tracking, Daugherty said, would go paw and paw with Duke, the bloodhound that was donated to the sheriff’s office in 2016.

Berry will be deployed to track scents following the commission of violent felonies, so as to not put the bloodhound in harm’s way, Daugherty said.

“This will be good especially for some of the crimes that have taken place recently like robberies and burglaries where people have fled,” Daugherty said. “You can use the dog to track both articles of clothing or other items, that people have dropped.”

For a missing person or in a case where the scent is older, Duke, the bloodhound would be deployed. Daugherty said the handlers, Smith and Cpl. Lee Best, would be working side by side to cover for each other when one of the dogs is deployed.

Sheriff Travis Patten said the reason the sheriff’s office sought to purchase Berry is for drug detection. Patten said on many occasions the sheriff’s office has needed a drug dog for detection but has not been able to borrow one of the dogs utilized in surrounding communities.

“We’ve had to let certain things walk because the officers were unable to respond,” Patten said. “Having our own K9 on site, ready to go, will cut down on response time. It will help in our war on drugs right here in the county.”

Daugherty said an example of where Berry could help with drug detection is during traffic stops. The dog could be utilized in this scenario to help obtain search warrants, he said.

The dog is trained to bite as an apprehension tool, Daugherty said.

“It is sometimes best if he does not bite,” Daugherty said. “He has a tremendous recall. If you give him the bite command and while the dog is en route give the recall command, he turns around and comes back to you.

“During the first week, I watched him do that. It is phenomenal. Berry is an extremely well trained dog.”

Both Berry and Duke can be used in community relations to provide demonstrations to schools, organizations and events, Daugherty said.

“Just because he is a bite dog does not mean he is mean or aggressive,” Daugherty said. “We can demonstrate his obedience training and how he does narcotics detection.

“We can show the bloodhound track a scent.”

Training for the dog is $15,000 — $12,000 of which was obtained through community donations. Daugherty said an additional $3,000 to $5,000 would come out of the Special Operations Group budget to be spent on equipment including bite suits for training scenarios.

“We are looking forward to both Duke and Berry being put into service,” Daugherty said. “They will be a tremendous asset to both the department and the community.”