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We all know that dogs are man’s best friend, but in the Sheriff’s
Office, they play
a significantly larger role. The Cuyahoga County Sheriff's K-9 Unit
originated in the late 1980's. Initially, it was comprised of a single
narcotic detector dog and handler. The first K-9 team was an immediate
success, making unprecedented seizures in Cuyahoga County. The team was
so effective, that by 1990, the K-9 program had expanded to three K-9
By the mid 1990's, the K-9 unit had expanded to now include dual, or
multi purpose dog's, capable of effecting arrests of fleeing fugitives
and tracking suspects or lost persons and locating evidence that was
discarded in dense cover or abandoned building, in the hopes of
concealing its discovery by Sheriff's Deputies. The Sheriff also offer's
these K-9 teams to area law enforcement agencies that might not
otherwise have K-9 teams available to them.
Post 9-11, the Sheriff's Office recognized the need for the addition
of explosive detector dogs and they were integrated into the K-9 unit as
Since the original K-9 team in the late 1980's, the unit's had 15
different dogs and 13 handlers. The unit presently has five K-9 teams,
overseen by a Sergeant and Lieutenant. These teams are a tremendous
asset to the department's work in narcotic interdiction, fugitive
investigation, helping ensure a particular area is free of explosives,
locating evidence and lost articles. The unit routinely works with area
schools and community groups on drug awareness and prevention.
In 2007, the K-9 unit was responsible for the seizure of over 4,000
pounds of marijuana and cocaine, participated in over five hundred
arrests, 175 explosive searches and assisted two dozen federal, state
and local law enforcement agencies.
are grateful for the community support the unit receives. The Sheriff’s
Office K-9 unit is self sustaining. From the cost of the dog to their
training and wellness, seizures made by these officers support the unit
at no cost to County taxpayers.