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K-9 Handler Resigns, New One Chosen

Woodfin Police Department's K-9 officer has a new handler.

Woodfin – Woodfin Officer Michael Owenby, the department’s K-9 handler, has resigned from law enforcement reported Woodfin Police Chief Michael Dykes. “Though he is still an active reserve with us, he has not joined another law enforcement agency.” What does this mean for the department’s K-9 officer, Chef?

“Chef, he has been partnered with a new handler, Officer Joshua Myrick.  Officer Myrick and Chef will spend the next few weeks working on their bonding as they look for a K-9 handler school,” Dykes told the Tribune. “Once we find one, the K-9 team will spend eight to 10 weeks (depending on the program) in training.  After that, Chef will resume his normal patrol with Officer Myrick.  

Chef, a Belgian Malinois, was aquired by the department last year at tbe cost of $10,000 with inital training. Add to that cost of a kennel that was built at Officer Owenby’s home ($2,000), a specially modified police cruiser that contains an automatic climate control system that ensures no matter where “Chef” goes he’s kept cool ($2,000) which was switched to a new Ford Explore when the new police vehicles arrived (about $4,000 for that one) and accessories like leashes and training gear. 

Chef was selected by the trainers in Florida after undergoing testing and evaluation and then underwent more training and assessment before being selected by Woodfin. “It goes through another process before we select the dog, so we make sure we’re finding a dog that fits our needs,” explained Dykes. 

Chef is an all-purpose search dog looking for everything from missing persons to suspects to drugs along with protecting its handler. He won’t be searching for bombs or cadavers. 

Asked about concerns about Chef working with a new handler, Dykes said, “Since Chef is still rather young, we anticipate that he will adapt well to a new handler and the K-9 handler school will be more an opportunity for Chef to train Officer Myrick.”

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