LEHIGH COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
Lehigh County Sheriff Joseph N. Hanna has announced the addition of a new canine program for the sheriff’s office and for the county of Lehigh.
Countless law enforcement agencies and sheriff’s offices throughout the commonwealth utilize canines to assist with daily operations and law enforcement functions and security activities.
The Lehigh County Sheriff’s Office established a canine program for three primary objectives: first, to enhance security for the facilities and properties in Lehigh County, which includes the courts; second, to expand the overall safety to the citizens of Lehigh County and other civilians who visit Lehigh County and third, to be a deterrent to those who may otherwise consider acts of violence against those the office protects.
As a result, the sheriff’s office expects to improve public relations with the community they serve.
Canines provide law enforcement with added benefits that the human element does not readily offer. For example, various scientific research suggest canines have a sense of smell up to 50 to 1,000 times more efficient than humans depending upon the breed. As a result, canines have the ability to search, check and clear areas and locations inside buildings more effectively and efficiently than law enforcement personnel during certain circumstances. To that end, trained canines are able to discriminate between different odors and have a phenomenal olfactory memory.
Last year, the Lehigh County Sheriff’s Office obtained K-9 “Nevie,” a German Shepherd female imported from Europe.
Nevie was born Sept. 11, 2014 and was named “Never Again” in memory of the attacks on 9/11. Nevie was provided to the sheriff’s office by Progressive K-9 Academy in Walnutport.
K-9 Nevie is trained in all aspects of explosive detection as well as human scent tracking. K-9 Nevie is currently being handled by Deputy Rich Garner. Hanna noted the canine program in the sheriff’s office would not have been possible without full support from the Lehigh County Board of Commissioners, the County Executive’s Office and Lehigh County Administration.
Hanna said Nevie has already saved tax dollars by finding unattended backpacks, which can be checked without evacuating buildings. Most recently, Garner said, a backpack containing a syringe was found and confiscated, making the building safe for the community.
David A. Faust, chief deputy of administration, Lehigh County Sheriff’s Office, said the Emmaus Animal Hospital has provided all care for Nevie at no cost to the sheriff’s office or Lehigh County taxpayers. Faust said the doctors, Rick Grgurich, Arthur F. Obenrader, Arthur J. Obenrader and James Higgins and staff members have been wonderful with Nevie.
“Working with a dog of this caliber is challenging because of her value to our community. Having said that, she is a pleasure to work with, and her health and well-being are extremely important to our hospital,” Higgins said.