Ballistic vest is donated to Jefferson County K-9

July 07, 2007|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

Jefferson County Sheriff's Department Deputy Andy Rew has long hair, weighs about 87 pounds and understands a bit of the Czech Republic's Slavic language.

And to the apparent dismay of a certain Jack Russell terrier named Cory, Rew, a German shepherd trained for law enforcement, feels like he rules the house, according to Sheriff's Deputy G.W. Kilmer, the K-9's crime-fighting partner.

"The little dog growls and tries to bite at the big dog," Kilmer said of the apparent "little man syndrome" now in play at his home these days.

At Briggs Animal Adoption Center on Friday, Rew, who will be 3 years old on Sept. 1, effectively ruled over a ceremony held on his behalf while his handler was presented with a ballistic vest for the dog.


"In police work, it's nice to have a big, scary dog," Sheriff's Deputy Lt. Tom Hansen said after Jim Taylor of the National Humane Education Society donated the gear, which cost about $870. The dog was purchased five months ago from Castle's K-9 Inc. in Mechanicsburg, Pa.

The vest, which weighs about 20 pounds, primarily covers Rew's chest, flank and back, but won't be worn all the time because of the weight, Kilmer said.

"When I first put it on, he was kind of doing circles," Kilmer said.

The dog had weighed about 100 pounds, but after 250 hours of training for narcotics detection, search and rescue and aggression, Kilmer said the canine lost weight. The dog still appeared healthy Friday, if not readily warm and cuddly to a small crowd of adoption center volunteers and supporters.

The adoption center also is providing food, use of the center's grooming facility south of Charles Town and veterinary care for the dog, Taylor said.

The cost for food and veterinary care will amount to about $800 per year, Taylor said.

"We value the services this dog provides to the community," Taylor said.

Taylor also committed to providing similar support for another K-9 should the sheriff's department purchase one. Hansen indicated that might happen.

On patrol now for about four weeks, Kilmer said the dog helped the Harpers Ferry (W.Va.) Police Department locate narcotics that resulted in a felony charge being filed against an individual riding in a vehicle. The K-9 also found drugs in a bedroom in another incident.

Before Kilmer was hired in April 2005, he said he mentioned his interest in handling a K-9 to Chief Deputy J.W. "Jesse" Jones, who since has retired.

"(I) just always loved dogs," Kilmer said.

Andy Rew replaces Cerka, the department's former K-9, which was given to Morgan County after then-Deputy Mike Dumer left the agency for a job with a Florida law enforcement agency a couple of years ago.

"It's a resource that's necessary in law enforcement," Hansen said of the dog's arrival. "He's going to be a much needed asset."

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