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Sheriff#8217;s Office receives new drug dog

Since he joined the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office in 2005, Max, the Belgian malinois has been credited with sniffing out illegal drugs and helping apprehend criminal suspects.

Now, he’s about to get some help.

Lawrence County Sheriff Tim Sexton said he is acquiring a second K-9 unit for his department. The Belgian malinois is being purchased from the Police Dog Services of Mason.

School Resource Officer Charles Hammonds will spend the next three weeks training with his new partner. Unlike Max, who is also trained for other purposes, the new dog will be used only as a drug dog and Sexton wants to make him a fixture in area schools.

“This is to enhance our presence in the schools,” Sexton said. “I want to get the dog in the schools more as a prevention tool. What I want to do is work to make the schools truly drug-free.”

The dog will also be used in road patrol drug eradication efforts.

Perhaps the nicest thing about this new canine staffer is his price tag: the cost of the dog and training is paid for through grants. It will not cost the county general fund any money. Grants are applied for and obtained for a specific purpose and must be used for that one purpose only. Ironically, money to purchase necessary equipment for the new drug dog is coming from money forfeited by convicted drug dealers.

Sexton said he appreciated the cooperation he has gotten from school officials, the Lawrence County Juvenile Court staff and Lawrence County Juvenile Court Judge David Payne and the Lawrence County Prosecutor’s Office in creating and maintaining his school resource officer program.

Both Hammonds and the new dog should be certified by the end of the month.