Dogs and their handlers must constantly train to maintain the performance standards for which the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office K-9’s are renowned. The Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd breeds have proven to be well-suited for the many tasks that Okaloosa County K-9’s must perform. Many people instantly associate “police dogs” with drug detection, but that is only one of the many jobs that the K-9’s perform well.
The unit currently has eight assigned K-9 units.
- Sergeant Tony Kelly: K-9 Rico
- Joey Haun: K-9 Gunner
- Derek York: K-9 Nico
- John Duenas: K-9 Axel
- Elliott Howard: K-9 Bady
- Toni Costantini: K-9 Esuda
- Zach Putnam: K-9 Titan
- Cutler Petersen: K-9 Miro
The K-9 teams are spread out over various patrol shifts to cover all areas of Okaloosa County . The Okaloosa K-9 unit responds to a variety of calls, including commercial and residential burglary alarms, assist with traffic stops, high risk warrant services, searches for persons or evidence and, of course, narcotics detection. Each of the Okaloosa K-9’s is certified in narcotics detection as well as patrol operations. The K-9 units are utilized by the Okaloosa County public schools to help the fight against drugs in Okaloosa county schools. Also, Okaloosa County Sheriff’s K-9’s are frequently requested by outside agencies for their assistance in both narcotic detection and patrol operations. In the last several years Okaloosa County Sheriff’s K-9’s have been consistently ranked in the top ten both individual and in team events which are sanctioned and judged by the United States Police Canine association.