For over a century, canines have been an indispensable part of law enforcement and military operations. Working dogs have come a long way over the years with extensive training in bomb, drug, and weapon detection. Behind the scenes, K-9 units are working every day to keep us safe and the streets clean. In this new regular piece from Tails, we’re highlighting a local K9 that puts in just as much work as the officers on the streets! In this issue we would like to introduce Kyra (kee-rah) with the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office’s Regional K-9 Resource Team.
The Chatham County K-9 Team was formed in 1989 with a single dog and has since turned into Georgia’s center of training programs for K-9s with nine active duty canine officers. Each dog is trained in one specific job like explosives, drug, or weapons detection from the time they are around a year and a half old. All of these dogs are bred overseas in a European country (Czech Republic, Netherlands, etc.) and are then brought to the states for training. After that, handlers from various law enforcement agencies get to pick their new partner.
Dogs then build a bond and team with the handler over the course of a year (on average) preparing for a decade long career of fighting crime. At the end of the day each dog goes home with their handler and takes two trips to the vet a year. Four legged officers are trained to do jobs regular jobs, like sweeping buildings and public events for explosives. What else might be in a day’s work? They’re often called out to traffic stops to sweep for weapons or drugs. K-9s are requested regularly when politicians or VIPs come to town to enhance security. To add to these duties, Chatham County is the hub for K-9 training in the region, responsible for training dogs for over 60+ agencies across the south east. Their working team consists of six drug dogs and three bomb dogs. Kyra is one of those dogs.
Kyra is a gorgeous Belgian Malinois. At four years young, she’s been active duty with Chatham County only two years. While a lot of dogs are taught commands in German or Polish, Kyra is fluent in Dutch since she was born in the Netherlands! Kyra’s job as a K-9 is explosives and weapons detection which she trains for regularly. Do-badders had better beware with Kyra on the streets. So far in her short time as a working dog she’s pulled at least 75 guns off the streets of Savannah and the surrounding area. Thanks Kyra!
Every day, once Kyra’s shift is over, she goes home with her handler Sergeant Jason Livie to two other dogs and three pigs. (Sounds like a full house.) Kyra and the other dogs on the team are on an on-call rotation where they could be called upon at any time to come and do what they do best, just like their police department colleagues. When she’s home, she enjoys being a regular dog and playing with chew toys. But when it’s time to work, Kyra is as professional as they come. Stay safe Kyra and Sgt. Livie, and thank you for your service!
By Justin Smith