William Paine/The Patriot
Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office introduces their new K-9 teams. Top Row from left: Captain Lucas Nestor, Sheriff Mike Worrell, Laurel Galaszewski, Barry Turner, Lieutenant Paul Akers. Bottom Row from left: Corporal Kim Hodge (with Sadie), Corporal Michael Bruce (with Onna), Sergeant Cody Linkous (with Kilo).
By WILLIAM PAINE
The Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office recently introduced Sadie, Onna and Kilo as the newest members of the department’s K-9 unit.
These three dogs will be used for different law enforcement purposes relative to their specific training.
Kilo is a two-year-old German Shepherd that specializes in detecting firearms and explosives.
Kilo will be put into service to help keep the school system safe, as he will be called in to sniff packages of unknown origin that are found on school grounds. Kilo’s skills will also be put into practice to search for firearms used in the commission of crimes.
“We’ve used Kilo more than the other two because we’ve had so many gun offenses lately,” said Captain Lucas Nester. “He’s found a lot of guns already. You might use him if somebody threw a gun out of a window of a car or if you need to locate a gun quickly in a house or car.”
Sergeant Cody Linkous is Kilo’s handler. To attain certification, both he and Onna’s handler, Corporal Michael Bruce, went through 80 hours of training in Ghent, West Virginia.
“It’s all in the nose,” said Sergeant Linkous of his dog.
Onna, a two-and-a-half-year-old German Short Haired Pointer, specializes in detecting illegal narcotics. Onna replaces another canine officer that had filled that role before simple marijuana possession was decriminalized.
“He detects all narcotics … except marijuana.” said Corporal Bruce. “The dog we had before was trained to pick up the scent of marijuana and once you’ve trained a dog to pick up a scent, you can’t untrain them.”
Corporal Kim Hodge acts as the handler for Sadie, the K-9 unit’s two-year-old bloodhound. Corporal Hodge and Sadie recently returned from a weeklong training session in York County, South Carolina. Sadie’s specialty is Man Trailing, something that could have been put to use last month, when authorities were searching Draper Mountain for a man who reportedly attempted to kill a police officer.
In what will likely be a more common use for this K-9 officer, Sadie can be used for finding lost children or elderly persons with dementia. Sadie could even be used to locate lost possessions like a purse.
“We try to train monthly with the Virginia bloodhounds search and rescue group,” said Corporal Hodge. “I went to their seminar in May. So, we go to school with them and they teach us their ways.”
“Having a bloodhound nearby and being able to get the dog to the scene quickly is important because when you have someone who is lost or missing, time is of the essence,” said Captain Nester, who was the handler of a police bloodhound in years past. “The longer they’re missing, the more likely they are to be injured seriously. So, if she can get there quickly and locate that person, they have a better chance of not being seriously hurt.”
Sadie was donated to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office through the generosity of Jody and Meaghan Vickers, who raised her from a pup.
Also on hand were Floyd County natives Laurel Galaszewski and her husband Barry Turner. Laurel and Barry donated two K-9 protective vests to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, so that the furry four-legged officers would be shielded from knives and even gunfire. In fact, these are the same type of protective vests that are worn by their human counterparts.
“We love dogs,” said Laurel. “We have our own rescue farm and so we decided to get them some vests.”
According to Laurel, the idea to donate these protective dog vests came when a Floyd County Sheriff’s Deputy let her off the hook for speeding. He recognized Laurel, which is no surprise, as she had been involved in various aspects of law enforcement for the past 23 years.
“He gave me a break, so I said I want to do something nice for Floyd County for giving me a break,” said Laurel Galaszewski. “But Floyd County doesn’t have a canine team, so we went to adjacent counties that do mutual aid for Floyd County. So, the first year we bought two vests for Montgomery County and the last year we bought two vests for Carroll County.”
This year, Laurel and Barry decided to spread their generosity to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office with their donation of two protective vests for the county’s K-9 unit. These particular vests cost over $1,000 a piece.
Now with three canines along with their three handlers, the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office is particularly well suited to deal with a variety of situations, law enforcement and otherwise, in the future.
“Having quick access to our dogs in these situations allows us to better serve the citizenry of Pulaski County,” said Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Worrell.
Vickers family donates Sadie the Bloodhound: From left: Corporal Kim Hodge, Cole Vickers, Gabby Vickers, Jody Vickers and Meaghan Vickers. Front Row: Sadie the Bloodhound