By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Van Buren County Sheriff's Department goes to the dogs
K-9 with deputy.jpg
Van Buren County deputy Dustin Brisher is pictured with Bain, who has already helped in 14 drug-related arrests in just over a month.

The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department has a new member that has hit the ground running, literally, as the furry member of the K-9 unit. You could say this new member really wants to take a bite out of crime.

Bain (badge number 9320), is a 14-month-old Belgian Malinois and is the partner of deputy Dustin Brisher. 

“The breed is a little more athletic than the German shepherd but has about the same bite strength,” Brisher said. 

Brisher has been the full-time handler and owner of the four-legged law enforcer since he was 5 weeks old. “I have always wanted to be part of a canine unit, since I was a young kid,” he said.

This desire has been part of the driving force to invest hundreds of hours of time into the training and care of his partner. Since his first day of service, Bain has been a productive asset of the Sheriff’s Department. In just over a month, he has utilized his special abilities to alert his handler partner on 14 occasions of the presence of drugs.

“He has been trained to utilize a passive alert when he smells drugs,” said Brisher. “He will go to the site of the scent and then sit. He will also have other behavior changes such as his ears will stand up, have some breathing changes, and tail will wag.”

Bain is certified by the National Narcotic Detector Dog Association (NNDDA) as an elite canine fit for duty to help remove drugs from community. His abilities were officially tested in February when he scored 100 percent on his evaluation.

“They just called and told us to report to a building that we had never been in,” said Brisher. “They tested him with a number of hidden drug finds. He did really well.” 

Detection training was conducted by deputy Brisher with input from a variety of other handlers and the NNDDA. “There is kind of a canine handler community and they offer a lot of advice and help.”

Brisher is a Texas native who relocated to Van Buren County and has been an indispensable resource for the department for approximately two years. In 2018, he was the recipient of the Cookeville region deputy of the year award. 

His nomination by Sheriff Eddie Carter included: “He is motivated and has the drive and determination to accomplish any assigned task. He sets high standards for himself in the performance of his duties and strives to accomplish every challenge with a positive attitude. His loyalty to the citizens is unwavering. He has written 231 citations, made Habitual Traffic Offender, DUI, PI and stolen property arrests. In addition, he has made 74 drug-related arrests which resulted in the seizure of thousands of dollars and several vehicles, some of which were used to transports illegal drugs and weapons.”

The duties of this canine team continually adapts to the local needs and includes being an ambassador to the community. They have visited the local schools and shared the anti-drug message to the next generation. Currently, Bain is in training to assist with suspect apprehension and location of lost persons.