K-9 Unit

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Lt. Billy Mitchell
K-9 Unit Commander
Assistant S.W.A.T Team Commander

The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit has been a full-time unit since 1989. Currently, the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office has eight K-9 Teams. Five of those teams are trained in narcotics detection, two are trained in explosive detection and one is a tracking dog.  Four of the K-9’s are also trained in patrol/apprehension.  The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit currently consists of a Lieutenant, Sergeant, Corporal (assigned to UPD) and five deputies. All of the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office K-9’s are from overseas and receive their initial through the Sheriff’s Office K-9 handler school.  After the K-9 team’s initial training, the teams receive extensive weekly training through the Sheriff’s Office K-9 team training program.

Lt. Billy Mitchell is the K-9 Unit Commander.  Lt. Mitchell is the handler of K-9 Maggie, a Bloodhound trained in tracking.  Lt. Mitchell is also the Assistant Commander of the Cherokee County Multi-Agency S.W.A.T Team.  Lt. Mitchell currently holds a Bachelors’s Degree from Reinhardt University and will graduate with a Masters’s in Public Administration from Columbus State University in May of 2021.

Sergeant Chris Bryant the K-9 Unit supervisor and has been a K-9 handler since 2011. Sgt. Bryant is the handler of K-9 Blade, an explosive detection and patrol K9. Sgt. Bryant is also a member of the S.W.A.T. team.

Corporal Matthew Verber has been a K-9 Handler since January 2014, is currently assigned to the Uniform Patrol Divison. Cpl. Verber is the handler of K-9 Bak.

Deputy Bryan Stark joined the K-9 Unit in 2016. D/S Stark is the handler of K9 X-ray. K9 X-Ray is a Belgian Malinois imported from Holland. K9 X-Ray is trained in the area of narcotics detection and police service dog.

Deputy Jack Fulenwider joined the K-9 Unit in 2016. D/S Fulenwider is the handler of K-9 Volt. K-9 Volt is a Belgian Malinois imported from Hungray. K-9 Volt is trained in areas of narcotics detection and police service dog.

Deputy Sullivan joined the K-9 Unit in 2018. D/S Sullivan is the handler of K-9 Xena, a Belgian Malinois imported from Holland. K-9 Xena is trained in narcotics detection, tracking, and article detection.

Deputy Joshua Reece joined the K-9 Unit in 2020. D/S Reece is the handler of K-9 Vader, a German Shepard from Croatia. K-9 Vader is trained in narcotics detection and police service dog.

Deputy Patrick Hansen joined the K-9 Unit in 2020. D/S Hansen is the handler of K9 Bako. K9 Bako is a German Shorthair Pointer / Labrador mix imported from Croatia. K9 Bako is trained in the area of explosives detection and is stationed at the Justice Center.

Since 1990 the K-9 Unit has seized more than $24,000,000 in illegal drugs. The K-9 Unit is also responsible for assisting the Sheriff’s Office and police agencies within and around the county in many capacities, some of the functions they can perform are narcotics detection, explosives detection, locating missing/lost persons,  tracking fleeing suspects, evidence recovery, and educating the public.

A high priority for the K-9 Unit is education and public relations. Each year the K-9 Unit visits Cherokee County Schools, private schools, and county daycares, speaking to over 24,000 people a year. Some of the public functions include America’s Night Out Against Crime, Red Ribbon Week, career day, community helpers week, Neighborhood Watch Programs, and speaking with the Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of America.

K9 X-Ray

K9 Blade

K9 Maggie

K9 Bak

K9 Volt

K9 Xena

K9 Bako

K9 Vader