Deputy on working with K9: 'It's the best job at the sheriff's office'
COQUILLE, Ore. - Imagine you just committed a crime and you're on the run.
Now imagine a German Malinois is after you.
It may be enough for you to give up before he catches you.
"The first time you do it your adrenaline just pumps because it's teeth coming at you," says Coos County Sheriff’s Deputy Theran Coleman.
But for Coleman it's just another day of training.
“He is such a fun dog to train with and work with. The more we can help train with him, the more it's like one of our partners."
Law enforcement agencies often rely on K9s to locate missing people, find drugs, or catch the bad guys.
K9 units with the Coos County Sheriff's Office regularly train.
The K9’s name is Odin, and his handler is Deputy Adam Slater. They've been working together for about a year and a half now.
In that time, Odin has scored almost 50 direct captures.
"His capture rate is actually over 71 percent,” says Deputy Slater. “The national average is right around 20 percent, so he's a great dog. He's definitely doing very, very well."
"Odin's current record would be a good record for a career for most patrol dogs," adds Coos County Sheriff Craig Zanni.
Sheriff Zanni says using a K9 during a suspect search can reduce the search time by 80 to 90 percent.
Deputies say Odin's nose is a key element in what they do. While Odin works to find a subject, Deputy Slater is right behind him.
When the deputy's shift is over his work with Odin doesn't stop.
"Some people don't understand that, but for him, work day is a stressful day mentally and physically," says Slater, who also houses, bathes and feeds him, providing 24/7 care for his furry partner.
But Odin's time at home doesn't mean time to play fetch.
"It's our family, so he has some interaction with them, but it's limited,” Slater says. “But that's the important thing - to keep their drive where it needs to be, to come out and do the job that they do."
They say a dog is a man's best friend, but for Deputy Slater, the bond he and Odin share is unlike any other.
"Another kiddo,” Slater says, “I mean, it's like having a third kid. You know everything about them; you know when they're sick, you know when they're not. It's the best job at the sheriff's office. I get to go out and play with the dog every day, and he knows me and I know him. He'll protect ya to the ends of the earth."
Odin is just one of many police K9s that work to protect the communities we live in every day.
To see the K9 unit serving in your area, contact your local law enforcement agency.