The Fulton County Sheriff’s office recently acquired a new K-9 dog named Maggie to replace Arny that held the position since 2003. Arny proudly served Fulton County for over 12 years and was officially retired on December 31st 2013 and in February of this year was sadly put down. Maggie is a two and a half year old German Shepard. She and her deputy Jeremy Simon just returned two weeks ago from vigorous 6 week training down in Lima.
Maggie was originally from and trained in Germany and only knew German commands and the old K-9 unit was from the Czech Republic and followed Czech commands. Deputy Simon that Maggie was easier to switch over to the Czech commands then he had thought it would have been and that was important because timing is key when out in the field if the commands are just a few seconds off it could lead to a subject getting away or a dangerous situation.
Deputy Simon and Maggie primarily work the night shift but they are on call all day. Maggie loves to hang out in the office and be social with the other deputies, but when it’s time to get down to business she’s ready to roll. Deputy Simon said that the hardest part is getting the mutual bond and trust between him and the dog, it took a year before Arny and Simon were able to develop that bond. He said with Maggie it’s a work in progress but she knows when something’s wrong to go to him.
Maggie came in with only experience in searching for marijuana, so during their six week training they did a lot of drug work and daily tracking training. Some of the other training that they did during the six weeks of training was obedience training, handler protection, finding articles of importance at a crime scene, tracking, and building searches. Deputy Simon said that the odor separation that a dog can do is the most important role of a K-9 and the ability to search a building in a lightning quick pace that it would take 3-4 deputies hours to accomplish.
One thing I found out that most people might not know is that most K-9 dogs come from the Czech Republic or Germany this is because they face less health issues. A new K-9 can cost anywhere from ten to fifth teen thousand dollars but the service they provide goes well beyond that price and the K-9 unit is a vital tool in keeping Fulton County safe.