The Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office has a full time continuously operating canine unit within the patrol division. The Sheriff’s Office and the community have seen the advantages of the canines since 1976 and with an increase in deployments the canine unit eventually grew to five canine teams. The canine unit has three patrol canines crossed trained in the areas of explosives and narcotics detection, one search and rescue canine team, and one single purpose narcotics team. The canine breeds vary ranging from Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, and Bloodhounds.
The canine teams are required to participate in 16 hours of monthly training and is overseen by a Lieutenant. The patrol canines train extensively so they are ready to assist patrol deputies, detectives, and ERT in locating wanted felons. The canines also assist in locating missing persons, narcotics, explosives, and evidence. The handlers and canine undergo a strenuous program during which the teams are instructed in: basic obedience, agility, handler protection, narcotics or explosives detection, tracking, building searches, veterinary first aid, and legal. The canine teams are required to pass all aspects of training to receive certification. Upon completion of the Canine Handlers Basic School, the teams are sent out on patrol and receive re-certification annually.
The canines help us do our job safer and faster saving the Sheriff’s Office hundreds of man-hours every year. The canines freely and willingly go into areas deputies are not able to. We rely on the canine teams to use their special abilities to help us locate suspects, evidence, narcotics, explosives, or missing persons quickly.
The success of the canine unit is also attributed to the support by our citizens, County schools, and local businesses that have monetarily donated or provided areas to train our beloved canine.