Warren County Sheriff’s Department has added to its dogged effort to find and remove drugs from the community.
A Dutch Shepherd named L.T. handled by deputy Paul “Rudy” Rudicel is the newest K-9 Unit within the Warren County Sheriff’s Department. They join a German Shepherd named Ozzy, who is now partnered with deputy Calvin Hammond. Ozzy has been with the department five years.
“For me, the best part of this job is the opportunity to fight the dope and help get it off the street, no matter if its dealer level or above,” said Rudicel. “We have to because it will eventually end up in our children’s hands and we don’t want that to happen. We are trying to stop the proverbial revolving door. We will have it in our hearts to do that, because children are our future. We’ve got to stop it.”
In addition to their usual duties, each K-9 officer is also a dog handler, meaning they have to train and care for their canine partner.
Both deputies attended a certified handler’s course and must continue that training monthly.
“Ozzy is with me 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Hammond. “We train eight hours every month. We were fortunate to get to go to Kentucky for a trainer’s seminar. It was really eye-opening. We saw other handlers from other states, how they work their dogs and learn their techniques. Then, I added those techniques to how I handle mine.”
The partnership with a canine is time consuming.
“It’s a lot of responsibility,” said Rudicel. “He’s my partner. He can’t tell me what he needs, so I always put his needs before mine. If I need to use the restroom, I take him out first. He does all the work. My job as his handler is to take care of him. We are a team.”
L.T. and Ozzy alert their handlers to the presences of illegal narcotics by sitting. Neither are trained as attack dogs.
The two are supervised by K-9 coordinator Corey Knowles.