One of Union County’s finest will soon retire from the sheriff’s office.
Dutch, the Union County Sheriff’s Office K-9 dog, turns 10 years old this year and has had some health problems. He started having seizures several years ago and was put on medication.
Deputy Adam Fitts, the sheriff’s office K-9 Unit officer, has been Dutch’s handler for the past seven years. Once Dutch retires he will continue to live with Fitts. Dutch is a Dutch Shepherd, and he is expected to officially retire sometime in August.
He used to be a dual-purpose K-9 meaning that he could track, apprehend suspects and uncover drugs. In the last couple of years his drive for tracking and bite work declined, but he still had the ability to sniff out drugs.
Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said Dutch has helped out the sheriff’s office a lot. Dutch, who has some gray hair now, has helped find close to $1 million in cash over the years.
One of the first seizures that Dutch was involved in with a prior handler uncovered $600,000 in cash. The sheriff’s office was awarded $100,000 of the money.
In another case, Dutch helped find $260,000, a bunch of weapons and a pound of marijuana. Dutch also found about 60 pounds of cocaine on one occasion and has also found marijuana, meth and heroin.
While Dutch has been involved in some serious law enforcement work, he is also a friendly dog who has visited schools and churches.
“He’s always had a real good disposition to him,” Edwards said, adding that he and the deputies formed a bond with Dutch.
“He is one of the deputies,” said Edwards. “We’ve always been pretty fond of him.”
The sheriff’s office is in the process of getting a new dog, a Belgian Malinois from the Little Rock K-9 Academy.
The new dog, whose name is Fuks, will be dual purpose, meaning he can track, apprehend suspects and sniff out narcotics.
The dog’s tracking ability can be useful in the event of a missing person or a fleeing suspect.
The new dog’s handler will be Deputy Chris Whiteside, who will undergo two weeks of training.
Edwards and some of the deputies have already met the new dog and it seems as though he will be a good fit for the sheriff’s office.
The new dog is eager, has a lot of drive and wants to work, said Edwards.
“That’s what you’ve got to have,” the sheriff said. “We’re looking forward to getting him and getting him started off.”