From the Office of DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden:
Over the last several weeks, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office has added several new K-9 units. The new K-9 program includes three new narcotics dogs and two tracking dogs. Two of the new drug dogs will be on the road full time, while the third narcotics dog will be used in DeKalb County and Ftt Payne City Schools!
The K-9 to be used in the schools is a Lab named River, and is handled by SRO Sherri Johnson, who has years’ worth of experience in handling K-9s. The other two narcotics dogs are a Dutch Shepherd (named “Switch,” handled by Sgt. Nathaniel Bates) and a Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix (named “Dolly,” handled by Deputy Troy Fugatt). The new units will join narcotics K-9 Marianna (handled by Deputy Hunter Akins), who was the lone dog in the department before the new administration took office.
The tracking dogs are blood hounds (Moses and Alex), and will be used in missing persons cases, as well as manhunts for dangerous fugitives. Moses is handled by Deputy Seth Cagle.
Alex is named after 11-year-old Amberly Alexis Barnett, who went missing and was found murdered earlier this year. Alex’s handler is PIO Deputy Tyler Pruett. The Sheriff’s Office will also have another dog, Ari, available for tracking from McCreary K-9 Facility if needed.
Ft. Payne City Schools Superintendent Brian Cunningham and DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jason Barnett contributed to the new dogs, as well as Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter, Senator Steve Livingston, and Probate Judge Ronnie Osborn.
Numerous other businesses and organizations also contributed to make the new K-9 units possible. Micah McCreary of McCreary K-9 Facility also helped greatly with the training and certifications.
DeKalb County Sheriff Nick Welden: “These new dogs are a great addition to our capabilities in both detecting narcotics and locating people. River will also be great in our schools. She’ll be used by an SRO who is very experienced with K-9s.”
“I’d also like to thank the citizens of our community who helped make these additional K-9s possible.