“This tool is a little bit different. It’s not like a taser or a weapon,” said Sgt. Alex Miles with the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. He was talking about the four-legged partners of the department. “This tool here eats, sleeps, breathes, everything and lives with this deputy.”
Tactical obedience training this is practiced at the TCSO Firearms Range and Training Facility to expose the dogs to gunfire and ensure that the handler has control of his their dog in special environments.
“The dog is just like anything else,” Deputy Brad Flowers told WVUA 23. “If you don’t constantly work it and constantly try to make that skill better, he’ll start falling off and start suffering because of it.”
Duties of the patrol dog teams include responding to felonies in progress, patrolling high crime areas, and responding as backups on dangerous calls.
“It gives you a lot of reassurance just having him with you,” Flowers said about his dog Ulee. “It’s another available option that we have. Under certain circumstances, it’s assuring to have and are able to actually use him.”
Deputy Hunter Strickland runs obstacle training drills with his K-9 partner Reno. These in and outs and up and downs increase the dogs’ agility and gets them familiar with heights.
“The more you train, maybe you can remember this on something you are having out on patrol,” Strickland said.
Narcotics detector teams are used by the West Alabama Narcotics Squad and in assisting officers on drug stops. These teams have been responsible for seizing hundreds of pounds of illegal narcotics.
“The bad guy, if he hides it, we’re going to find it.” Those were words from School Resource Officer Mark Weaver.
He and his K-9 Bear train to keep drugs out of our schools.
“We go into schools wholeheartedly to try to find the guys trying to sell drugs to our kids,” Weaver told us.
Deputy Jody Mccrary’s K-9 partner Bari, is a decorated former marine corps dog. He found six explosives while overseas.
Explosive detector dog teams like McCrary/Bari are constantly on call to serve the community against bomb threats and the threat of terrorist type activity. They have been requested numerous times by outside agencies for their assistance.
But it’s not all work and no play for the four legged members of the sheriff’s office.
“He’s my buddy. He’s good with my family. He’s just a good dog.” – Deputy Jody McCrary on his dog, Bari
“When I’m off, he’s usually running around the yard or inside with me or playing with my other dogs. Just let him have time to have fun.” -Deputy Hunter Strickland about his dog Reno
“Just a good old dog, that happens to be a dog that works.” – Deputy Mark Weaver on his dog Bear
“We take them home at night, feed them play with them, love on them just like they are part of the family. This is the best job I’ve ever had.” – Deputy Brad Flowers about his dog Ulee