HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - Hancock County has a new deputy patrolling its streets. Coming from Louisiana, this four-legged officer seems proud to call South Mississippi home.
Meet K-9 Deputy Dark, who recently finished training. Running down criminals and sniffing out illegal substances, Dark has proven he has what it takes to be a part of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department.
“Dark is a Dutch Shepherd. We purchased Dark from the U.S. K-9 Unlimited in Louisiana around November of 2020,” said Lt. Edward Walley. “During that time, he’s been training through U.S. K9 Unlimited until the end of January.”
Deputy Jace Favre, who also went through training, is serving as Dark’s handler. Both have been working and patrolling the streets of Hancock County ever since late February.
“To get the certification through U.S. K9 Unlimited, that’s a five-week certification where they put them through different scenarios and training environments,” Walley said.
After getting the certification, Hancock County Sherriff’s Department runs its training, which is 16 hours of training each month. Every Wednesday is K-9 training for the department, where they train four hours a week.
“We run a five dog K-9 division here,” Walley said. “We have a dog for every shift, which we run four different shifts. Two day shifts, two night shifts. We also have a dog for the schools.”
Walley said most of the dogs have a dual purpose and are proficient in narcotics, apprehension and tracking. An interesting part of their training is actually using toys to know what to sniff out.
“The dog has no idea he has found drugs,” Walley said. “He in his mind has associated the odor with the drugs with this plastic pipe. That kind of toy associates with obedience and playtimes. The dog knows supposed to do just like we associate different collars.”
Walley said all their dogs are like children and enjoy playing, which is incorporated into their daily routine. What the K-9 may think is fun while on duty is strictly business.