MENTOR: Chambers County Sheriff’s Office introduces new K-9

Published 8:00 am Saturday, July 15, 2023

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A new K9 unit at the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office completed a five-week training last week after the 12-year-old K9 Otos retired.

“I really enjoy working with the K-9s,” said Deputy Sgt. Keegan Daniel. “It’s very rewarding, but it’s also a lot of extra work. There’s a lot more than people realize, especially to maintain and keep your dog up to standards and everything. It’s not like they just give you a dog, and that’s it.”

Daniel said the handlers and K-9s complete training at least twice a month on top of the initial five-week training. 

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K9 Mentor completed training at the Dothan Police Department with Daniel, his handler, on June 29. Daniel began working at the CCSO in 2012. Before that, he worked for Lanett PD.

Daniel worked as the handler for the retired K9 Otos since 2016. Otos, a Malinois Shepherd mix, retired due to his age. After developing a bond with Otos during his years of service, Daniel adopted him as his personal pet. 

“Keegan has several years of experience handling dogs,” said CCSO Chief Deputy Mike Parrish.

Daniel and K-9 Mentor attended 200 hours of training in a five-week course to become certified as a K9 team through the United Police Work Dog Association (UPWDA). The K-9 dogs are re-certified every year. 

“None of our dogs have ever failed any of the certifications,” Daniel said. 

The Chambers County Sheriff’s Office has two K-9 units both trained in narcotics. In addition to K-9 Mentor and Daniel, Deputy Jonathan Williams is the handler for K-9 Mexx, a Dutch Shepherd.

The K-9 dogs at CCSO are generally purchased from Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, a leading military and police dog training, where they are imported from overseas. Mentor was bred in the Netherlands. 

Mentor is trained specifically for detecting narcotics and tracking humans. Mentor and Mexx are trained to detect four main drugs, including heroin, meth, cocaine and marijuana. 

“We hope he takes all the drugs out of the street at some point,” Parrish said. 

Daniel said CCSO’s K-9 dogs are purchased at no expense to the taxpayers. 

“The dogs assist a lot,” Daniel said. “I would say with my last dog, Otos, he assisted was well over 100 arrests that wouldn’t have been made without him. We tracked numerous people with him all the way from like just folks just running from traffic stops to robbery suspects.”

Mentor is a 3-year-old Belgian Shepherd. He will also be used at the county jail and schools to help detect the presence of drugs. 

Daniel said CCSO’s K-9 handlers often bring the dogs out for K-9 demos and introduce them to the public. Daniel recently showed Mentor off to the kids during a demonstration at the Valley Junior Police Academy.