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Camden Local Spotlight

St. Marys police force receive full-service dog to replace K-9 Bak

Monday, February 5, 2018- Police Chief Timothy Hatch requested permission, from the city council, to take possession of a donated patrol K-9 to retire K-9 Bak. The new patrol K-9 donated from a kennel company in Virginia and offered to SMPD at zero charge.

The dog is a 4-year-old German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix named Cairo. Cairo is up-to-date on all his certifications and valued at $15 thousand.

City Council Member, Bob Nutter, asked about the dog biting the handler one or two times and worried about the dog biting citizens. Chief Hatch suggested the handler was “green” and did not handle the dog as advised by the trainer and said that “full-service dogs do bite.” Cairo does have a proven apprehension bite when deployed and has broken the forearm of a person he was taking down to which Hatch says, “was a righteous deployment.”

The dog has undergone an assessment period by the St. Marys K-9 Unit and has been approved.

Hatch stated Cairo is a “full-service” dog and will replace Bak, a narcotics dog, when the K-9 is retired. Currently, all the patrol dogs in service for SMPD are mainly narcotics dogs so having a full-service animal would be of great value to the department.

A full-service K-9 is trained in criminal apprehension, handler protection, tracking, and narcotics or explosives detection. Hatch spoke of having to wait for the county to get their full-service K-9 to aid with a case and the need to get their own. Bak is certified through the National Police K-9 Association to detect methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, and heroin.

Bak, a 10-year-old dog, is still a great dog, Hatch suggested but would be a surplus to the department with the new dog’s arrival, and most police dogs get retire around 12 years of age. Bak is more than likely going to go to his handler when retired or another officer on the force that has been around the dog. In the rare instance that these animals don’t get adopted by someone who is eligible to take possession of them the animal gets destroyed, but Chief Hatch does not think this will be the case.

Bak expected to stay in service, while the new K-9 is being transitioned and trained with the new handler, and may retire in late April or May.

St. Marys City Council voted unanimously in favor to accept the dog.

Reporter – Jacob Coldren – AllOnGeorgia Camden & Glynn Counties

Reporter for All On Georgia while finishing his bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Environmental Studies. Jacob moved to St. Marys seven years ago from Worcester, MA. He worked for the National Park Service at Cumberland Island and for the Department of Defense on Kings Bay Submarine Base.

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