The Clay County Sheriff's Office K-9 Unit is a pro-active unit with teams of deputy handlers and their canine partners. Each handler is carefully selected. The dogs also are carefully selected to ensure they are social and can do the job they are required to perform in the field. The canines go through training to become utility dogs, which detect illicit drugs, track people, find people in buildings, and locate articles of evidence.
The K-9 Unit works in areas identified for high crime and drug activity as well as criminal drug interdiction. The K-9 Unit is part of the Patrol Division but also supports every other unit of the Sheriff’s Office when needed, from presentations at schools with our School Resource Deputies, to helping locate contraband in the Detention Center, to finding wanted persons with the Fugitive Apprehension Unit, to working with the Drug Task Force in narcotics investigations.
The K-9 Unit also has a decoy program in which future handlers are identified and train with the K-9 Teams. Deputies chosen to be decoys help set up training scenarios and work directly with the dogs and their handlers. The K-9 Unit has grown over the years, from the agency only having one canine team to five canine teams by the end of 2022.
The K-9 Unit is primarily self-funded. It has fundraisers and uses grants rather than tax-payer dollars to purchase the dogs. The K-9 Unit also receives a huge amount of support from Purina, which donates all the food for our dogs, and Long Veterinary Clinic, which provides all the basic health needs for our dogs for free.