Stewart County K-9s help make dramatic increase in drug arrests

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — All week on Good Morning Nashville, we are introducing you to police K-9’s and their handlers who make a big difference across Middle Tennessee.

Within the past year, the Stewart County Sheriff’s Office has added two K-9’s to the department.

Since then, they said drug arrests in the county have gone up significantly.

“Our drug arrests have gone up 100-to-125% within the last year of having the dogs,” said Stewart County Sgt. Robbie MacDonald.

Sgt. MacDonald works with K-9 Harry, who came to America from Poland in late 2018.

“He flew into Atlanta and I picked him up,” said MacDonald. “I was so nervous!”

MacDonald said the process of choosing their K-9’s is a lengthy one.

Stewart County Sheriff Frankie Gray wanted dogs who could not only get the job done, but could also attend community-wide events.

“I explain it as kind of like the college combine,” said MacDonald. “We had videos of several dogs and their bios explaining everything they could do and that’s how we found Harry.”

The Department acquired its second K-9, Stormy, in January, 2019.

MacDonald said the dogs give the deputies confidence out on the road.

“Several times, we would stop a vehicle and the occupants would not give us consent to search,” said MacDonald. “At that point, I’d tell them I’ll go retrieve my K-9. They say, ‘oh you have a K-9?’ I’ll say yes and they’ll give consent to search because they know the dogs are going to find whatever they’re hiding.”

MacDonald speaks to Harry in Polish, while Stormy recognizes commands in German.

“The reason we use foreign languages is so if Harry is trying to apprehend somebody, when they say ‘stop’, he won’t stop. He’ll keep on going until he hears his Polish command,” he explained. “Shane, Stormy’s handler, knows German so when we’re working together, our commands don’t interfere with one another.”

Both, Harry and Stormy are dual-purpose dogs, meaning they can find drugs and track missing persons and runaways. MacDonald said Harry is also a bite-dog.

The main drug busts in the county consist of meth, marijuana and cocaine.

Recently, Harry assisted in finding 60 pounds of marijuana.

MacDonald said all of the progress in the past year is due to a team effort between the dogs and the deputies.

“It’s really also due to the team of deputies that have been trained to know what they’re looking for,” he said. “We always wanted dogs. They are an asset we needed to help fight the drug problem.”

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