Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody and the exemplary deputies in the office’s K9 unit showed off their rock star personalities Nov. 28 at Williamson Co. Regional Park.
The K9 unit gained a huge following in the past year thanks to each dog having his own Twitter account and tremendous social media followings. The event was prompted by social requests to meet the dogs, and the team expected about 60 guests. They were excited to see more than 300 dog lovers who depleted the stack of K9 trading cards before skills demos even began.
The Unit includes Deputy trainers, German and Belgian K9 partners and one Lab mix rescue, Bolo, in training to be a narcotics dog. The active duty dogs are chosen for their high drive and constant willingness to work. The dogs are trained/certified in criminal apprehension, handler protection, tracking, and narcotics detection. As well, each K9 deputy of this unit has many years of experience as a dog handler and their combined efforts have contributed to the seizure and/or location of numerous fleeing suspects, missing persons, large amounts of narcotics, and drug currency.
Sheriff Chody explained; “Practically speaking, we use the dogs as a tool in law enforcement because they have talents that people don’t and depending on the situation, they can go into and be more effective in situations where we wouldn’t send a person. They also make great strides in humanizing the badge. The combination is outstanding; Nemo is a sweet dog and he loves the attention from citizens of every age, but you flip the appropriate switch and he’s literally on your back.”
The event was free, but deputies realized they had the opportunity to bring awareness to local needs and encouraged visitors to bring toys for Brown Santa or food, toys and beds for the County Animal Shelter.
During the demos, the dogs began barking and got very excited in preparation for the chase. They demonstrated speed and obedience, while the “bad guys” made sure to show off the dogs’ strength by getting them airborne without losing their bite. Kids chanted in unison for Nemo!, who gained fame last year during a Twitter war to rescue him from doggie jail after he spirited away his Kong after hours. Support staff say it’s even become common for people to approach and say “Hello Sheriff Cho… oooh there’s Nemo!” But because the sheriff is so active on social media, many other agencies have called to get tips and learn the lesson of citizen engagement and outreach.
Sheriff Chody was pleased with the event, “I didn’t realize until today how much the pubic wants to see the K9s so don’t worry, if you missed it today, we will definitely make arrangements with the handlers and do it again.”