BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff's Office's newest Patrol K9, a female Czech-Shepard originally from Slovakia, successfully completed her training and has been paired with her handler, Deputy Ben Bartness.
Deputy Bartness says the police dog, 'Masa' is eighteen months old and eager to work. "She is trained in area searches. She is also trained to track a specific track, apprehension work, so she can chase after a suspect and take him down if she needs to...she can do it all. She's an all-around good dog."
The Sheriff's office has four K9 teams assigned to the Patrol Division, and in addition to tracking and apprehension, they cover narcotics detection, as well.
Bartness says he's thrilled with the dog's performance so far. "A majority of police patrol dogs tend to be males, but the guys that would do trips over to Europe and hand select dogs to bring them back and to sell to local agencies, would mainly bring back boy dogs, but they're actually shipping us over some female dogs and these female dogs, they're really great. They're good dogs."
Bartness says Masa loves her patrol work, but she's also going to be doing some community outreach ... visiting schools to help teach kids about the police department, and Bartness says, it's important that the public doesn't view her as just a dog. "She is identified by her collar and her harness, she does have a uniform because she's a police dog. So, if kids, or any citizen in the community does see her and me working, just know that these dogs are working dogs. They're not family pets to pet and love on, these dogs are business. They work, they love to work, and that's what they're very eager to do. Their job."
K9 officers undergo rigorous and continual training, and they are on-call 24 hours a day.