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June 18, 2018
The Canine Crew: Help Support Lancaster’s K-9 Unit
Cover Photo: Deputy David Cole and dog Edik
“The canines can definitely do things that we cannot do. Their noses are so advanced—they are farther advanced than any manmade technology. They are still the most efficient means of detection and location.”
David Cole has been a Deputy in the Lancaster County Sheriff’s office for over seven years, and has been a dog handler for three.
“It’s definitely the best job in law enforcement,” said Deputy Cole, smiling. “Our bond is close. I know how my dog, K-9 Edik, works. I know when he’s tired, when he is in ‘odor’—or following a scent.”
The K-9 program is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. Founded in 1998, the program has continued to grow. It started with a single purpose: to better detect explosive devices. The K-9 program is funded solely by donations, so the team is hard at work making this critical service known. The funds raised help with vet care, food, training, and certification for the dogs.
We had the opportunity to chat with Deputy Cole to learn more about the program. Explore the story below to get the program details, meet the dogs, and see how you can help make an impact by donating to the mission!
An Inside Look At The K-9 Unit
The K-9 unit provides critical service in detection and location.
“When it comes to patrol, they can detect something way faster than we can,” said Deputy Cole. “The dogs can smell it so much faster—they alert us to danger before we can even see it.”
Locating what you’re looking for is much easier with the dogs’ super sense of smell.
“Their ultimate function is location,” said Deputy Cole. “They either find explosives, evidence, or fugitives.”
The dogs are carefully selected. The K-9 handler team, including Deputy Cole, researches available dogs, looks at certain qualities needed, and then makes a selection. His current dog, K-9 Edik, is from the Czech Republic.
After a dog is selected, they will go through a training program with the K-9 handler that takes 6-10 weeks. The first few weeks are critical to establish a bond. The dogs are alpha dogs, so the handler has to create a strong bond and earn the dog’s respect. Once the bond is established, then the detection training and location skills begin.
“A huge part of the program is actual experience,” said Deputy Cole. “When you are out in the field you really get to know each other and how each other works.”
The Crew: Meet The Dogs
“These dogs absolutely love this job,” said Deputy Cole. “They crave this kind of work.”
The dog team is part of the South Central Task Force and covers eight different counties as an anti-terrorism task force. They are also focused on disaster relief for the area. It was pretty incredible to watch Deputy Cole interact with Edik, his dog.
Meet all the dogs that have served past and present at the Lancaster County Sheriff’s office below!
Kayla was the first dog in the program. She started back in 1998 when it initially started, and got the program moving in the right direction! Kayla retired in 2005.
Cobra was one of the first dogs who served in the program. She has since retired, in 2010, after serving on the task force.
Edik is the current partner of Deputy Cole. He serves alongside his handler, and lives with him too! He has been serving for three years. He is from the Czech Republic.
Ronin retired in January of this year. After ten years of service in the field, he deserves a relaxing retirement. Ronin served well.
Diesel replaced K-9 Ronin when Ronin retired early this year. Sergeant David Bolton is his handler and has recently completed his training process. He is from Holland.
Help Make An Impact
“We definitely need help from the community to keep this program strong,” said Deputy Cole. “The program is time intensive and costly.”
You can help make an impact by donating directly to the program, or buy purchasing some sweet merchandise showcasing the dog team—with funds going back to cover the program cost. Check out the t-shirts and buttons at the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office in the courthouse where they are stationed, or message the guys on the official K-9 Unit Facebook page to order items or coordinate a donation.
“We also like to also get out into the community and do demonstrations for the public,” added Deputy Cole. “We love to educate people on who we are and what we do.”
“These dogs are great,” said Deputy Cole. “We appreciate all the help and support from the community.”