North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

May 23, 2013

Sheriff's force adds two canine veterans of Afghanistan, Iraq

By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News

BIRMINGHAM — Two veterans of U.S. Marine service in Iraq and Afghanistan have joined the Jefferson County Sheriff's force — but unlike most veterans, these two wag their tails.

Six-year-old Tori and four-year-old Dash are Labrador retrievers trained for sniffing out explosives such as improvised explosive devices. According to Chief Deputy Randy Christian, the two dogs became available when the company that trains the animals had their contract downsized, and the dogs were made available free of charge to law enforcement agencies.

The Sheriff's Office found out they would receive one dog, and deputies went to South Carolina on May 6 to pick him up. When they arrived, the deputies learned that another dog was also available, so both Dash and Tori came back to make Alabama their new home.

Christian said the dogs will be used by school-resource deputies, and will be trained to detect firearms and ammo that might be brought to schools. Sheriff Mike Hale's force already has trained handlers available.