The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Culpeper Sheriff’s Office adds police dog
BY DONNIE JOHNSTON
The Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office has a new member of its force: a two-year-old Belgian Malinois that will be used as part of its special operations division.
The dog, named Kato, was bred in Holland and will be working with Deputy Derek Emmel, a 15-year veteran of the force who has been working in the K-9 program for eight years.
Emmel and Kato have been training—and bonding—for seven weeks in preparation for the dog beginning active duty this month. That training will continue weekly for as long as the dog remains with the Sheriff’s Office.
“The toughest part about training was it was very physically and mentally challenging,” Emmel said about the intensive certification process. “But the best part was bonding with Kato.”
The deputy and dog are members of the Virginia Police Canine Association.
Kato is trained to sniff out narcotics during traffic stops and can also be used for tracking.
Emmel cautions the public, however, that Kato, like other K-9 operatives, is serious about his work.
“He’s highly trained, but he’s not like a pet where people can approach him,” Emmel said. “For safety purposes, we ask that adults and kids don’t attempt to approach him or get his attention when we’re out working.”
During training, Emmel and Kato competed in a regional police canine competition in Fauquier County along with another Culpeper deputy, Owen Gore, and his dog, Hunter.
Gore and Hunter placed second in the explosives detection division, according to Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Corey Byers.
Gore and Emmel will work opposite 12-hour shifts so a dog will be available to the Sheriff’s Office at all times.