By Chris Edwards
IVANHOE – Much like the animated bloodhound in the 1980s named McGruff who reminded kids to “take a bite out of crime,” there are some canine law enforcers who are doing just that in Tyler County.
According to Deputy Marshal Michael “Mike” King with the Ivanhoe Marshal’s Office, the three recently added canine deputies to the department’s ranks are “earning their kibble.” The canine deputies, named Yaya, Baby and Duke, have, in the short time they’ve been active on the streets, netted three felony charges for possession of controlled substances and one of the canines (Duke) is certified in explosives detection.
Both Yaya and Baby are certified narcotics detection dogs and are the canine counterparts of Chief Marshal Terry Riley and King, respectively.
The human officer counterparts (K9s) and the dogs both endure rigorous testing and training on an ongoing basis in order to protect and serve their communities. Along with narcotics detection and explosive identification, the dogs are also extremely useful in search-and-rescue operations and pursuing fleeing suspects.
Riley and King also recently attended a canine first-aid course, which allows the dogs to be life-flighted by Hermann Memorial Life Flight if they are seriously injured in the line of duty.
Yaya was obtained last November by Riley and trained by Ivanhoe resident Michael Hadnot. More recently, Warren resident and businessman Neil Alderman sponsored the narcotics training of Baby. Alderman said he learned during the last election cycle that there were no narcotics dogs working in the county, and said he wanted to ensure there were canine officers available to help out the different school districts in the county, along with other law enforcement agencies in tackling the drug issues facing the area.
The Marshal’s Office reported that it has responded to 130 calls for service, assistance or criminal activity for each month since the beginning of the year, and the presence of the canine officers has helped immensely.
Along with the canine officers, Riley recently added another officer to the department, longtime Tyler County lawman Jim Zachary, who will serve as a Deputy Marshal.
Zachary recently retired from his post as Pct. 4 Constable, which his son, Zach, won in the last election. “With the addition of Deputy Zachary, the Marshal’s Office personnel has over a combined 100 years of law enforcement experience,” Riley said.
The Marshal’s Office has also forged working relationship with other agencies, including the DEA Narcotics Task Force. According to King, although it is small in number, the Marshal’s Office of Ivanhoe is a full-service law enforcement agency capable of handling everything from traffic incidents to serious criminal violations, all on a small operating budget.
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