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Johnson County K9s take a bite out of crime

By Tamas Mondovics

It is safe to say that local law enforcement agencies such as the Mountain City Police Department and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office have no shortage of officers and deputies working hard to keep the community safe and protected.
The often less remembered members of such local law enforcement communities are the special individual units within the department such as the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office three-member, K-9 Unit.
The K9 unit currently consists of Deputies RJ Mink and his K-9 Gena, Adam Worley and his K-9 Mateo and TJ Brown and his K-9 Rico who had a major role in the arrest of a suspect and the finding of drugs and multiple pieces of paraphernalia, as well as firearms.
According to JCSO, deputies K9 Rico and Deputy TJ Brown stopped a vehicle for loud music on November 27, 2018.
The routine stop revealed that the driver had two active arrest warrants. Interestingly, according to deputies, the warrants were the least of the driver’s problem and a “little more than that to worry about.
The initial report stated that K9 Rico was alerted at multiple points on the vehicle and a search ensued. When Rico finished deputies discovered methamphetamine, multiple pieces of paraphernalia, many different packages of marijuana seeds, and a 12-gauge shotgun.
“I am proud of our deputies and our K-9 police dogs for their hard work and diligence serving Johnson County residents,” said Johnson County Sheriff Eddie Tester.
Tester emphasized that for now; the unit will remain as is with
its three deputies and their K-9 partners.
A police dog, known in some English-speaking countries as a “K-9” or “K9” (a homophone of “canine”), is a dog that is specially trained to assist police and other law-enforcement personnel.
Typically a dog joins the Sheriff’s Office when it is between 1-3 years old and must complete hundreds of hours of training with its handler/deputy to be certified as a law enforcement canine.
A police dog’s duties include: searching for drugs and explosives, locating missing people, finding crime scene evidence, and attacking people targeted by the police. Police dogs must remember several verbal cues and hand gestures.
The most commonly used breeds are the German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Bloodhound, and Dutch Shepherd. Recently, the Belgian Malinois has become the dog of choice for police and military work due to their intense drive and focus. Malinois are the smaller, agile version of the German Shepherd and reportedly have fewer health issues. However, a well-bred working line German Shepherd is just as reliable and robust as a Malinois.
In many countries, the intentional injuring or killing of a police dog is a criminal offense.
“These dogs will sacrifice themselves for you,” Tester said in a recent phone interview.
Such devotion and partnership is also one of the main reasons why all deputy canines end up as their handler’s pets after retiring.
During a recent contest, residents were encouraged to support their local law enforcement agencies by means of submitting their votes for their favorite K9 team in their pursuit of the Aftermath K9 Grant.
The Aftermath K9 Grant was founded to showcase, support, and reward the unique contributions made by law enforcement and their K9 units across the country. Indirectly, the K9 Grant raises safety awareness and community kinship throughout the neighborhoods that Aftermath and our law enforcement partners proudly serve.
The contest received more than 280,000 votes this year, with almost 40,000 coming from Instagram fans.
With the overwhelmingly positive response, Aftermath decided to increase the total grant given to $20,000 across 14 departments.
While the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office fell short to be among the grant recipients, it is by no means a negative reflection of its value, relevance, and success of protecting and serving the community.