A mile stone of advanced detection in tracking, narcotic detection and apprehension was reached this month by the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office when Sheriff Bobby Rader announced the addition of “Jack”, a Dutch Shephard K-9 to the ranks of his agency. After five grueling weeks of intensive training, Sheriff’s Sgt. Michelle Deshotel and Jack’s handler are now ready to hit the streets on Wednesday, February 7th. Sgt. Deshotel explained that Jack is a 2 ½ year old K-9 brought over from Holland and both she and Jack attended the U.S. K-9 Unlimited Training Academy in Abbeville, Louisiana completing the training recently on February 2nd. During these five weeks, there is no doubt that a “bonding” developed between Deshotel and Jack as is demonstrated in her verbal commands to Jack and his immediate responses to those commands.
Sgt. Deshotel, who is a 17 year veteran with the Sheriff’s Office, explained that Jack is the second K-9 to be added to the drug enforcement efforts of the Sheriff’s Office however, Jack is the only K-9 that is multi-trained in all three fields of tracking, narcotics and apprehension. Although Deshotel is a supervisor on the night shift, both she and Jack are on 24 hour a day call-out when needed. There are two major points about Jack that Deshotel wanted to stress and that although Jack in normally friendly around other people, she would strongly suggest that approaching Jack should only be done within her presence and her discretion as to the circumstances. Secondly, in a search and rescue/recovery mission such as a wooded area or field and although the tendency is to have searchers rush into the search area looking for the lost person, this should not be done prior to Jack arriving on the scene. To do so will contaminate the smells and odors of not only the person being searched for in the wooded area but in stepping on and causing fresh damage to grass and brush of which any tracking K-9 keys off of, would further hamper the K-9’s ability to track a person effectively.
Sheriff Rader said that although the cost of the K-9 and training is quite expensive, it is interesting to note that court awarded drug seizure money from recent drug arrest that were used for this purchase and training is, in effect, using drug dealers and users money to catch other drug dealers and users. Jack is a strong crime fighting tool and lost person tracking K-9 for the Sheriff’s Office that has cost the tax payer nothing but can result in tremendous benefits.