ASO trainees Camo and Robbie ready to take a bite out of crime
Published: Friday, January 7, 2011 at 12:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 7, 2011 at 10:31 p.m.
wo new police dogs have been acquired by the Alachua County Sheriff's Office to replace two that have died — one of cancer and one in a training accident.
Introduced this week were Camo with handler Bryan Jones and Robbie with handler Tommy Willcox.
"These dogs have recently graduated from the training they needed to go through," Sheriff Sadie Darnell said. "Losing the dogs was very hard-hitting to the K-9 team, but there was an immediate outpouring from the community."
Willcox said the state requires 400 hours of training. He added that Robbie and Camo are still in that process.
Jones and Willcox demonstrated some of the skills the dogs have learned so far, including chasing and taking down a suspect — played by another officer — and finding hidden drugs.
Willcox's previous dog, Jet, died of cancer. Camo replaces King, who died in a training accident at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Among those attending the demonstration were members of the Greater Gainesville Dog Fanciers Association and Gainesville businesswoman Deborah Butler. The club and Butler donated money to buy the dogs.
Butler and the dog fanciers said police dogs are valuable to the department and the community.
"I'm just proud of the new recruits and glad they have them," Butler said. "I'm just so impressed by the handlers and the training programming. They are a great partner — they do what a human can't do."
The dogs cost about $6,500 each. The cost of training is extra.
The ASO K-9 unit has nine dogs, one of which is trained in bomb detection.