The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office on Monday introduced its newest young officer for training – King, an 18-month-old German Shepherd who will work motor patrol with his as-yet-unnamed partner.
With the addition of King, the sheriff’s office will have five K-9 units, Vanderburgh Sheriff Dave Wedding said. That includes another dog and officer team assigned to the Joint Drug Task Force.
King and his handler will replace Deputy Bryan Bishop and his K-9 partner Bosko on second-shift motor patrol. Bishop and Bosko, who had been splitting their time between motor patrol and the U.S. Marshall’s Fugitive Task Force, will start working with the task force full-time. Bishop is still a full-time Vanderburgh County deputy and works with the task force to serve warrants on violent felons in the Evansville – Vanderburgh County area.
Retired Evansville police captain John Haller, a longtime K-9 handler, said he bought King from Slovakia and will be training him for the sheriff’s office. Haller said he imported a dog because the animal needs to have special skills – not every German Shepherd can be a police dog.
“They’re bred for working dogs,” he said. “Even though we have a lot of German Shepherds here in the United States, not many of them could actually pass the criteria they need to have to become a police dog.”
All sheriff’s office K-9 officers are trained in drug detecting and finding people, Wedding said. Training usually takes about six weeks but could advance a little faster for King because he’ll be trained independently by Haller. Wedding will choose King’s partner this week. He said handlers train 16 hours a month and must be certified to have a K-9 partner. K-9 officers will often work seven to nine years before retiring to live with their human partners.
Community donations helped pay for King and increase the department’s K-9 fund, Wedding said. That includes a $16,000 donation from the Evansville Kennel Club, which went to buy King and his equipment. “They basically bought our new dog,” Wedding said. “Not only was the dog being purchased with that donation, but we will be able to buy equipment to support the dog as well.”
King owes his name to another donor. According to Wedding, local business owner Terry Oates promised to donate $10,000 if the sheriff’s office would name the new K-9 after his childhood dog, King. That is also the name of Oates’ appliance store chain, King’s Great Buys Plus.
During the announcement, Wedding also recognized the West Side Nut Club, which he said donated $5,000 to the K-9 fund after the 2016 Fall Festival, as well as Rolling Thunder Indiana and Veterans of Foreign Wars, which he said donated $500 each. I can’t say how grateful I am for that support,” he said, referencing all the donors.
Evansville Kennel Club President Deborah Wade thanked Wedding for the opportunity to support the sheriff’s office. “If our law enforcement needs this, this is something we’re very, very eager to help out with,” Wade said. WE ARE SO HAPPY TO HELP WITH THIS PROJECT!!