Sheriff’s office implements canine program for county
Lehigh County Sheriff Joseph N. Hanna has announced the addition of a new canine program for the sheriff’s office and for the county.
Countless law enforcement agencies and sheriff’s offices throughout the commonwealth utilize canines to assist with daily operations and law enforcement functions and security activities.
The Lehigh County Sheriff’s Office established a canine program with three primary objectives: first, to enhance security for the facilities and properties in Lehigh County, which includes the courts; second, to expand the overall safety to the citizens of Lehigh County and other civilians who visit; and third, to be a deterrent to those who may otherwise consider acts of violence against those the office protects.
As a result, the sheriff’s office expects to improve public relations with the community it serves.
Canines provide law enforcement with added benefits that the human element does not readily offer. For example, various scientific research suggests canines, depending on the breed, have a sense of smell up to 50 to 1,000 times more efficient than humans.
As a result, canines have the ability to search, check and clear areas and locations inside buildings more effectively and efficiently than law enforcement personnel during certain circumstances. To that end, trained canines are able to discriminate between different odors and have a phenomenal olfactory memory.
Last year, the Lehigh County Sheriff’s Office obtained K-9 Nevie, a German shepherd female imported from Europe.
Nevie was born Sept. 11, 2014, and was named Never Again in memory of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Nevie was provided to the sheriff’s office by Progressive K-9 Academy in Walnutport. She is trained in all aspects of explosive detection as well as human scent tracking and is currently being handled by Deputy Rich Garner.
Hanna noted the canine program in the sheriff’s office would not have been possible without full support from the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners, the county executive’s office and Lehigh County administration.
Hanna said Nevie has already saved tax dollars by finding unattended backpacks, which can be checked without evacuating buildings. Most recently, Garner said, a backpack containing a syringe was found and confiscated, making the building safe for the community.
David A. Faust, chief deputy of administration for Lehigh County Sheriff’s Office, said the Emmaus Animal Hospital has provided all care for Nevie at no cost to the sheriff’s office or Lehigh County taxpayers. Faust said the doctors, Rick Grgurich, Arthur F. Obenrader, Arthur J. Obenrader and James Higgins, as well as the staff members, have been wonderful with Nevie.
“Working with a dog of this caliber is challenging because of her value to our community. Having said that, she is a pleasure to work with, and her health and well-being are extremely important to our hospital,” Higgins said.