XENIA — The Greene County Sheriff’s Office introduced its newest crime fighter to the public June 22.
A two-and-a-half-year-old Belgian Malinois — Auco — has already begun his law enforcement career on county roads.
Alongside his handler, Deputy Jamie Coe, Auco is a dual-purpose K-9 that does both narcotics work and apprehension work.
“We can do everything from the drugs to tracking for people to tracking for articles. Once we find somebody that needs apprehended and we don’t want to send in officers, then we send Auco and he’ll apprehend them for us,” Coe said.
Since joining the K-9 team, Auco has been successful in his duties and has already been responsible for many arrests and seizures.
Originally from Holland, Auco went through a 5-week course of training with a master trainer, and then met Coe for another 6-week course of training. They continue to train together every Wednesday.
“Auco and I have bonded really well together,” Coe said. “It’s just been a joy … a career-rejuvenater — he’s a lot of fun. He loves to work. He loves to play. He’s very friendly. He likes to say ‘hi’ and be petted. Auco is a great dog.”
While Auco works the day shift, Benny, the office’s second K-9, works nights. K-9 Roy, 10, retired in September 2017 after nine years of service.
“The support that we have from this community for our dog program has just been overwhelming,” Sheriff Gene Fischer said. “These K-9s are valuable assets to the law enforcement community in Greene and surrounding counties.”
Fischer and Maj. Rick Bowman said Xenia tow companies, private individuals and businesses, Hill’s Science Diet, local veterinarians and community members have donated food, treats, medicines and vet services to the K-9 program.
Bowman also thanked Nancy Hazlett, a Xenia resident who led the first campaign in 2016 to purchase protective vests for the dogs when theirs expired. Auco gave Hazlett a quick face lick at the ceremony — on his way to greeting every guest that walked in.
Fischer also said his cars have begun carrying Narcan for dogs, which handlers are trained to use if the dog comes in contact with fentanyl or heroin.
“The more successful Auco and Benny and the handlers are, the safer this community is — I can’t explain how valuable these dogs are,” Fischer said. “Welcome, Auco, to Greene County.”
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498 or follow @annadbolton on Facebook.