Warren County Sheriff’s Department Welcomes New Member
It’s time to go to work!
And, in the case of K9 Dina, it’s to the benefit of the entire county.
“K-9 Dina is finally ready to start her first day at work today!” according to her Facebook page. “Say a friendly hello if you see her out and about.”
In May, the county commissioners signed off on an agreement with Shallow Creek Kennels of Sharpsville that allowed Warren County sheriff’s deputy Tom Kibbey to select the next K-9 that will serve throughout the county.
Kibbey selected Dina, a female German Shepherd “…born in Slovakia on December 11th, 2016.”
Kibbey, while with the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, worked with Conewango Township police and helped train Choper, Warren County’s first K-9 officer.
The county was without a K-9 officer after Choper died in a fall suffered during a training exercise… Then Nic arrived from Holland and became Conewango Township officer Scott Neiswonger’s newest partner and drug-tracking dog.
Choper, then Nic, and now Dina have all been trained at Shallow Creek Kennel, under stringent six-week programs for “apprehension, tracking and all that stuff,” Kibbey said.
Dina has been visiting Warren County on weekend, and getting to know Kibbey’s family, which includes a two-year-old son. She officially joined the family on Friday, and Monday was her first day at work.
Her job started at the Warren County Fair, which was a big start in more ways than one — never having been around that many people, “never having seen a horse before, never having heard a tractor before,” Kibbey said.
“A couple hours into our first day, we jumped right into the middle of things, working to get her socialized (to the people of Warren County),” he said. “That’s probably going to be most of our job.”
Kibbey said public relations is a huge part of the job for Dina, “and we’re going to take it slow (to start out),” Kibbey said.
On duty the night of Choper’s accident, Kibbey understand the emotional aspect of being a trainer and handler, but it’s “something I’ve always wanted to do.”
He said Officer Neiswonger “has helped me out a ton.”
There will be difficult assignments, and continued training (certifications with the North American Police Work Dog Association), but Kibbey also knows the more comfortable Dina gets, the more she will be able to separate work and being a pet.
He said she’s like an infant right now, having to learn how to crawl before she walks, so to speak.
“After she’s socialized, (people will be able to) pet her, play with her (in public) like any other dog,” Kibbey said.
Sheriff Ken Klakamp told the commissioners recently that this has been a joint effort, including the District Attorney’s office and the county’s police chiefs.
“There’s not a lot of counties our size lucky enough to have (two canines),” Kibbey said.
“Dina is trained to detect odors of narcotics, track and apprehend suspects, and more, according to facebook.com/K9Dina.
“The K-9 program has been completely funded by donations and grants — not paid for by taxpayers,” Kibbey said. “If you would like to donate to the K9 fund, feel free to contact me at 814-723-7553, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”