There’s a new deputy sheriff in town.
He’s got four legs, a tail, and a nose for sniffing out criminals.
Saber has joined the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Office as the agency’s first police K-9.
The 17-month-old Belgian Malinois will work with Deputy George Abele, who will be his handler and has previously served as a K-9 officer at the Brentwood Police Department.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the sheriff’s office to continue its involvement in the community through our law enforcement efforts, as well as our community policing initiatives. We are proud and excited to have this resource available to all the communities of Rockingham County that we serve,” Major Chris Bashaw said.
Abele and Saber recently attended a 14-week K-9 patrol school at the Boston K-9 Academy and graduated on July 2.
The program included training in obedience, agility, evidence recovery, building searches, area searches, tracking, search and rescue, K-9 First Aid, and criminal apprehension.
Abele and Saber will attend a narcotics school in January.
The new K-9 unit was funded through $27,000 in grants from the Stanton Foundation, which covered the initial acquisition and training costs along with expenses for three years.
According to the sheriff’s office, Saber will be able to track down missing people and suspects, search and clear buildings, assist other officers and sniff out drugs. Officials said police K-9s also save time, money and manpower when it comes to searches and help protect officers by deterring criminals who might be less likely to resist arrest when a police dog is present.