First Responders

Newest Rookie at Sheriff’s Department Can’t Wait To Take Bite Out of Crime

August 17, 2022Noelle Wiehe
Griff, the newest member of the Union County Sheriff's Office in North Carolina, awaits his assignment and training. Griff was donated to the department by Kaw-Tal German Shepherds and named by a public vote. Union County Sheriff's Office photo.

Griff, the newest member of the Union County Sheriff's Office in North Carolina, awaits his assignment and training. Griff was donated to the department by Kaw-Tal German Shepherds and named by a public vote. Union County Sheriff's Office photo.

The newest rookie on the Union County Sheriff’s force is only 11 weeks old, but he can’t wait to take a very tiny bite out of some North Carolina crime.

He’s a puppy donated to a deputy’s family by Kaw-Tal German Shepherds. The deputy then gave him to the department, and the sheriff asked the public to name the dog.

After officials tabulated roughly 2,000 votes, he was dubbed “Griff” on Monday, Aug. 15, as a nod to Sgt. Brian Griffin.

“He's been a bloodhound handler and explosive-detection-canine handler, and now he just kind of works on our procurement side, making sure we have all the equipment we need,” department spokesperson Lt. James Maye told Coffee or Die Magazine.

police dog rookie

Union County Sheriff’s Office working dogs Griff, left, and Maverick, right, are two of 14 K9s assigned to the department headquartered in Monroe, North Carolina. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

No one exactly knows what gig Griff will get. He might track scents. He could be assigned to a school resource officer to work around kids. Deputies might also use him to make apprehensions.

“It just really depends on, as his training begins, what he really takes to,” Maye said, adding that the department hopes Griff will be a multipurpose dog, capable of doing several kinds of jobs. “We just have to see how that goes.”

Over the next few months, deputies will bring Griff around school children to see how he behaves. In about a year, trainers will figure out where his path will lead, Maye said.

Griff might even follow in the paw prints of another relatively new K9, Maverick.

The 2-year-old English Labrador retriever has been working among students for months, and now he’s perfecting how to find lost kids.

police dog rookie

Maverick, a 2-year-old white English Labrador retriever, takes a break from his school duties to locate a missing kid on Aug. 1, 2022, near Monroe, North Carolina. Union County Sheriff's Office photo.

On Aug. 1, the pooch was dispatched to find a runaway along Highway 601, a four-lane route. A parent gave deputies the boy’s blanket for Maverick to sniff, and the dog’s handler, Deputy Josh Dye, yelled, “Track!”

Maverick took off. But because it was a busy roadway, two other deputies helped Dye keep an eye on traffic.

“If he’s got a good scent, and he’s got a good trail, he’ll pull fast and hard,” Dye said, describing how Maverick kept up the trot down the highway. “I feel like the dog could tell there was a sense of urgency. Sometimes they’ll stop and investigate trees, bushes, and stuff like that. But his urgency was spot on.”

Maverick turned down a side road, and the missing boy emerged from the nearby woods. The kid went to the dog. The dog bounded to him. Dye said the youngster was a little hesitant to pet Maverick at first, but the K9 was so lovable the two ended up strolling together.

“Any 911 call that comes across, if he’s the closest dog or he’s the most appropriate dog for that situation, then we’re going to put him to use,” Maye said. “He loves it, and we love having him.”

Read Next: Russia’s Killer Robot ‘Dog’ Is Made in China, Available for $2,700 Online

Noelle Wiehe
Noelle Wiehe

Noelle is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die through a fellowship from Military Veterans in Journalism. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and interned with the US Army Cadet Command. Noelle also worked as a civilian journalist covering several units, including the 75th Ranger Regiment on Fort Benning, before she joined the military as a public affairs specialist.

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