Barry County Sheriff’s Office’s K-9 unit was
officially established on April 27th, 2006 with a formal “swearing-in”
ceremony in front of the Sheriff’s Office. Various members of the
community were on hand to witness, for the first time in the Sheriff‘s
Office history, a K-9 take the oath of office.
This important ceremony made it official that, Gina, is to be recognized as
an official member of the Barry County Sheriff’s Office as a police
canine. This distinction enables certain protections and exceptions under
Michigan State Law.
Sheriff Leaf presented Gina with her specially designed badge. After the
Sheriff read the oath to Gina, she barked as if to say “I do”.
(Shown at right / Deputy
Richelle Spencer with Deputy Gina)
Cost to the taxpayer?
The K-9 unit development was approved by the County Board
of Commissioners. However, may not have been financially possible without
various significant private donations along with remarkable grants from the
Barry Community Foundation, Wal-Mart and Michigan Municipal Risk Management
Authority. Fundraiser events assisted the unit as well.
The funds made it possible to purchase the fully trained canine; training
equipment; specially equipped and dedicated police K-9 vehicle with heat
detection safety and bail-out electronics; bullet resistant vest; uniforms
for the handler; food; grooming; veterinary care; and miscellaneous support
Private donations from citizens and business leaders are always appreciated
so that we may continue this valuable program for our community for years to
come. Additional expenses from year to year will come from additional
training gear, replacement of training gear, training programs, vehicle
maintenance, and veterinary care and food.
Where did Gina come from?
After long research on police canines and training kennels in Michigan,
Northern Michigan K-9 (NMK9) was ultimately selected because of their
reputation in the law enforcement canine community and extensive experience.
Who is Gina’s Handler?
Deputy Spencer was chosen to be the Sheriff’s Office’s K-9 handler
through an application and interview process by a panel of professional K-9
handlers. She started working with canines
in 4-H and has continued to show dogs in local, state and national shows.
The knowledge and experience she brings to the program is a great asset.
Tell me more about Deputy Gina………
Deputy Gina was born in Hungary on May 29, 2004.
Gina is sable in color and came to us
completely pre-trained. That means before she was placed with her
handler, Gina’s narcotic detection work, tracking, handler protection,
article, area and building search, were already in place.
What type of training does the police canine team
The initial Basic Canine Training Course was 4 weeks in length and is an
accredited training program through Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement
Training is an on going and never ending process To maintain all of Gina’s
abilities to perform well in the law enforcement environment, training on a
weekly basis is conducted with other K-9 teams.
During weekly training, Deputy Spencer and Deputy Gina continually perform
extensive training exercises on topics such as canine obedience; article
searching; field searching; tracking; and narcotics detection. They also
train extensively in regards to techniques for handler protection, suspect
apprehension, and pursuit.
The K-9 team must certify annually so that they are able to document such
for a court. This is significant and unique because the K-9 team is capable
of developing “probable cause” for purposes of conducting both warrant and
warrant-less searches in certain circumstances. Therefore, the K-9 handler
must be ready to provide specific training documentation to a court of law
in the event an arrest or the development of probable cause is ever
challenged. To aid with this, Deputy Spencer attends legal updates covering
such topics as 4th amendment considerations.
In regards to narcotics detection, Deputy Spencer has attended drug
interdiction classes presented by the Drug Enforcement Association (DEA).
These seminars and classes compliment previous training to assist the K-9
team in locating illegal narcotics.
What can Gina do for law enforcement and the
Gina is considered a dual-purpose narcotic trained police dog. This means
that she has specific training to perform the following functions to assist
in a law enforcement mission:
- Narcotics detection (heroine, cocaine, marijuana, crack, methamphetamine,
and other derivatives [She searches for these illegal substances in: vehicles, private
residences, businesses, packages, and school campus’ upon request by a
- Suspect Apprehension
-Area and building searches for a criminal suspect's)
-Clearing vehicles after high risk stops
-Support emergency tactical response teams
- Tracking and searching
-For lost people
-Tracking and apprehension of criminal suspects
-Evidence search and recovery
- Handler Protection
- Tactical obedience
In addition to the aforementioned specific law enforcement functions, Deputy
Gina and Deputy Spencer are available to groups, schools, or organizations
for purposes of putting on general demonstrations and to discuss the police
K-9 role, and other related topics specific to the group audience and
interest. Although there is no charge for appearances, any financial
donation toward the Barry County Sheriff’s Office K-9 fund is greatly
appreciated. These funds will aid to purchase items mentioned above.
To our supporting community:
Dep Shaffer and Dep Spencer have had citizens approach
them from time to time asking to donate to the K9 unit. The problem is,
these generous people have advised don't know what the K9 unit is in need
of. In response to those questions, a list has been generated so that if you
find yourself asking the question, "I wonder what I could do to assist the
K9 unit?", you will have to wonder no further. The following list consists
of items they are currently in need of or would like to have in the future.
The order which the items will be purchased should be based on priority
unless we receive a request for a specific item to be purchased.
If you decide to make a donation, we will list you or
your organization as a supporter on our website. If you decline to have your
name posted on the website, please make certain we are made aware.
Monetary Donations will be utilized to purchase the
following (in no specific order):
-K9 Behavior Shaping Device #2 kit ($689.95) -Synthetic Leads and Leashes
-Magnetic stash boxes -Narcotics bags -Training rewards (kongs, balls, tug
Area Searching & Tracking:
-GPS Dog Collar w/remotes x 2
-Nylon tracking harness for Kyro (custom embroidered w/his name) -Synthetic
Leads and Leashes
-Bite Suit (Ultra Kimono Suit w/police package-Approximately $1295) -Hidden
bite sleeve (between $100-$200) -Scratch pads ($190-$230) -Hand protection x
2 ($129.95 each) -Bite Sleeves
-Kevlar dog booties (protect K9's feet in hazardous areas or conditions)
-Cooling vests x 2 (keep dogs cool while working in extreme heat $159.95) -Unipack
refills for cooling vests x 2 ($99.95) -Medical supplies to refill/expand
K-9 emergency medical bags
-Food and water bowls
-Vitamins and supplements
-Vari-Kennels (X-large x2)
-Plastic tarps (various sizes)
-Patrol car storage inserts (organize K9 equipment)
-To attend certification workshops and seminars to keep ourselves and our K9
partners current with training methods, training theories, equipment, case
law, and necessary team maintenance.
-Veterinary bills, preventative and treatment
-Because of the special job we ask our K9 partners to do, we must provide
them with an
appropriate level of balanced nutrition. Both K9 Gina and K9 Kyro our fed
to accommodate their individual needs. Currently, we do not have an
agreement with a supplier
to offset some of our costs. We are working on an agreement with a pet store
that will only alleviate some of the financial burden. Therefore, we are in
need of donations
to purchase dog food.
*Some of the equipment listed above may be purchased
through the Ray Allen Company. Gift
certificates are available for purchase on their website at
**If you own a particular item listed above that you
no longer have a need for and would like
to donate, please contact either Dep Spencer or Dep Shaffer at the Barry
Dept. to discuss arrangements.