Community Thanked for Sheriff’s New K9 Additions

Geauga County community members had an opportunity to meet the Sheriff’s Office three new K9’s – Spirit, Rotar, and Miner.

Sheriff McClelland with John and Mary Wheeler
Sheriff McClelland with John and Mary Wheeler

John and Mary Wheeler of Wheeler Landscaping in Auburn Township hosted an event to thank the community for their support in donating $26,341 for the purchase of the three K9’s.

Deputies Jake Smith, Ed Hunziker, and Jim Dhayer successfully completed six weeks of training through Excel K9 and are now NAPWDA certified in the state of Ohio.

Prior to the six weeks of training, the dogs are subject to “imprinting” in which the dogs are tested for drug sniffing, bite work, and play drive. After the initial imprinting, the dogs along with the handlers are trained in Agility, Article Search, Tracking, Building Search, Area Search, Obedience, and Agression Control, which includes handler protection.

The dog and handler team are also trained in Scent Detection. At the conclusion of the program, each team successfully passed the State of Ohio Certification Test in patrol related and special purpose areas.

During the event, Sheriff Dan McClelland presented John and Mary with a plaque recognizing them for their efforts in spearheading the fundraiser.

Paul Shaunessey was also present at the event and stated that each of the three K9’s chosen and each handler is a perfect fit, and he couldn’t be more pleased with the training and the result that was achieved during that short time frame.

Each dog was then introduced by the Sheriff starting with Deputy Jake Smith and his partner Spirit. “The name “Spirit” was derived from the “Spirit of the citizens of Geauga County” who donated – some of them in memory of their own dogs,” stated Sheriff McClelland.

Next, Deputy Ed Hunziker and his partner Rotar were introduced. Rotar was named after the four Rotaries that donated equally to the cause. Finally, Deputy Jim Dhayer and his partner Miner came forward. Miner received his name for donations given on behalf of Fairmount Minerals.

Geauga County Sheriff's Office K9 Handlers 2012
Deputies Jake Smith (Spirit), Ed Hunziker (Rotar),
Sheriff Dan McClelland (Midge) and Jim Dhayer (Miner)

Before dinner was served, each dog got to show off their talents by participating in a demo witnessed by all who attended.

First up was Jake Smith and Spirit who demonstrated obedience by giving commands in Swedish. Next up, Ed Hunziker and Rotar, demonstrated finding an ounce of marijuana on a truck parked in a field. Lastly, the crowd got to witness Miner “attack” suspect Deputy Mike Matsik once given a command to do so. Deputy Mike Matsik was wearing a “bite suit” of course, and Miner released from his bite once given the command from his handler.

The Rotary Clubs of Geauga County provided hamburgers and hotdogs for the event, and afterwards the crowd had an opportunity to see each dog and ask the deputies questions about their daily work.

Dessert was made by a woman who wishes to remain anonymous but made K9 cakes – cupcakes for each of the K9s, dog biscuit cookies, and other dog treats that were admired by all who came.

[one_half last=”no”]Desserts for the K9 officers[/one_half][one_half last=”yes”]K9 Cupcakes[/one_half]

Now that each Deputy has successfully completed training, there is one K9 to cover each 12 hour shift.

This is a huge asset to the office and especially provides the community with round the clock coverage,” says Sheriff Dan McClelland.

With Midge, Marko, Spirit, Rotar, and Miner, the Geauga County Sheriff’s Office can now proudly say that their K9 unit is complete.

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Geauga News
Author: Geauga News