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     The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit works closely with their dogs to enforce laws and apprehend criminals. With relatively few positions available, an assignment to the canine unit is a highly coveted position and requires special skills and great dedication on the part of both the dog and its handler.

     The Office has four types of K-9 deputies – explosive detection, narcotics detection, tracking and dual-purpose patrol search/narcotics detection. Our bloodhound is primarily used for tracking human subjects due to its stamina and nose for human skin cells. This type of dog is especially helpful when used to track missing and endangered children and adults too. Our German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois and Labradors are usually specialized in narcotics or explosive detection and/or patrol search.

     A K-9 handler can use their dog to enforce public order while on patrol. A primary role for police dogs is pursuing and apprehending suspects that attempt to escape law enforcement officers. Dogs tend to be trained for one specialty skill such as identifying narcotics or smuggled goods, search and rescue operations, detecting accelerants at an arson scene, or locating human remains.

     K-9 partners frequently work nights and weekends and have to be ready to respond to emergency situations with little or no notice. The handler is responsible for the dog at all times, as the dog lives with the deputy and his/her family during non-working hours. As a recipient of the 2014 Ben Roethlisberger Foundation Giving Back Fund Grant, the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is now able to have at least one K-9 working on each shift.

Special Events

     A K-9 officer must be comfortable interacting with the public. Public demonstrations are an important part of the K-9 unit’s activities, as such displays increase interest and support from the community and local media. Our K-9 deputies are often seen visiting schools, community groups, and other organizations to showcase their canine partner’s contribution to public safety.

Selection And Training

     Police dogs begin their training at approximately one to two years of age. Temperament tests are an initial qualifying factor, as dogs must be able to adapt to various environments and rapidly changing situations. Dogs should also show some defense drive and a good instinct to chase prey. They should also be able to pass a comprehensive physical exam by a veterinarian.

     Once an officer is assigned a dog there is an intensive training process where the pair completes agility and obedience work, search training, tracking and scouting exercises, bite work, protection and simulated suspect apprehension scenarios, and tactical deployment exercises. The officer will also complete coursework on canine behavior and first aid techniques.

     A dog is a proven deterrent to criminals who might otherwise try to confront the deputy. The handler must be responsible for maintaining complete control of the dog at all times, as this is a source of potential liability. Our K-9 Unit is constantly training and receiving additional certifications to ensure that the dogs and their handlers can perform in a professional manner in a variety of situations. Many of our K-9 handlers have achieved USPCA Certification for Narcotics and Explosive Detection.

K-9 Officers

Deputy Devin Brown

Deputy Brandon Burnette

Sgt. Richard Cobble

Deputy Josh Hull

Deputy Cody Meadows

Matt Scott

Greg Whittaker
Office: (931)528-8484 ext:
Fax: (931)646-1490

Putnam County Sheriff's Office
421 E Spring St.
Cookeville, TN 38501
Phone: (931)528-8484
Fax: (931)528-7043

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