The special K9 connection in local law enforcement


(FOX19) - They're called man's best friend, but for police K9 units, the bond between cop and canine is especially strong.

Over the past week, FOX19's Brett Hoffland had the opportunity to tag along with three different K9 units within the Butler County and Boone County Sheriff's Offices.

Along with the family-like bond between the dog and its handler, he also saw just how valuable of a resource these dogs are during day-to-day police activity.

Three-year-old Fraser is one of the K9 units for the Boone County Sheriff's Office.

"All of our commands are in German mainly because he came from Germany, and second of all, I'd rather just me know the commands than the bad guy necessarily," explained Fraser's handler Tyler Brockman.

Brockman showed us a demonstration where they placed drugs in certain cars to train the dog how to find them. His cue was "seek dope," and sure enough, he found what he was after!

Fraser is a multi-purpose dog who is trained to bite when needed, and even Brett had the opportunity to play the 'bad guy'.

"I have plenty of best friends but I can honestly say my best friend is a dog," said Brockman.

In Butler County live Jackson and Tank, both labs. They have different duties but they're related in blood.

"They're brothers from a litter apart,"said handler Jeff Duke.

Like Fraser, Jackson, a 4.5-year-old black lab lives at home with Duke.

"I leave him out of his cage at night, and he lays down right beside my bed. He never ever wants to be away from me. It's neat, it is," Duke explained.

Jackson is a single-purpose K9 unit which means he's not trained in bite work. In other words, he can detect a variety of drugs, but is also the only one in the county that can track someone and not bite them.

"We will track mainly juveniles, elderly people that walk away from homes. It's just one benefit that he brings to the county because he won't hurt them as soon as he gets to them," said Duke.

His brother, 3.5-year-old Tank, helps deputies at the Butler County Jail. Whether it's sniffing out narcotics or tobacco, Tank's handler Chris Morris says he can find it all.

A chocolate lab, Tank is also trained to track down cell phones because he keys in on lithium ion batteries.

"I hear inmates that come in that talk about how they don't try to bring stuff in because they know he's here," said Morris about his four-legged friend.

Along with inside the jail, the Butler County Sheriff's Office says they also have to keep tabs on what happens outdoors. Morris says they didn't know about some of spots inmates hid drugs or cell phones until Tank showed up.

"We work eight hours in here and go home. They're thinking 24/7 on how to beat us," Morris explained regarding inmates in the jail.

Morris says Tank is the only county jail dog in Ohio. Due to the success they've had with him, the state prison system now has four K9 units that work inside prisons.

"We haven't come across a situation where we've had someone overdose or something in the jail, that's when you can really know how valuable it is," said Morris.

Aside from their duties at "work," just like every other dog, they love dinner time and their toys.

As these three officers know all too well, the dog and the officers' lives are at risk every day.

An image went viral over the Internet when Jason Ellis' dog Figo said a final goodbye to his dad.

However, these handlers agree it's well worth the risk.

All three officers say their dogs will work as a part of the K9 unit between 8 to 12 years.

Specialist Scott McMannis with the Cincinnati Police Department and his dog 'Diesel' will have a live demonstration Thursday morning on the FOX19 Morning News.

Starting at 7:50 a.m., we'll plant drugs in a car in our parking lot and put Diesel to the test!

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