The mission of the Chatham County K-9 Unit is to maximize law enforcement efforts in the location of specific evidence while reducing man hours required in accomplishing an investigation. Mission areas may include the following:
- Safe School Searches
- Street Sweeps
- Neighborhood Drug Activity Suppression
- Traffic Safety Checks
- Service of Search Warrants
- Recovery of Evidence
- Community Drug Education Demonstrations
- Participation in Multi-Level Narcotic Interdiction Efforts
- Narcotic Sweeps of Correctional Facilities
- Explosive Detector Response
- Sterility Sweeps
We are a federally funded K-9 program; therefore all of our services are Free. The only cost for the agency is the officers per diem and gas. Lodging is provided to the first four students registered for a course. Lodging is the responsibility of the agency after our dorm is full.
This Department supports local, federal, and private organizations for the purpose of Narcotic and Explosive services. Our unit deploys six narcotic canines and two explosive canines for the purpose of evidence recovery and safeguarding human life. This unit is special in that each of the handler teams are fully dedicated handlers, they only deploy and train their partners for their primary duty. The Department has instructors that teach courses in Basic Narcotic and Explosive Handling. We also have an Explosive Incident Specialist that coordinates bomb threat scenes and conducts training conducive to managing critical incidents.
The K-9 Unit was originally formed in 1989, due to the efforts of Major. John T. Wilcher, assisted by LT. Tommy Smoak, LT. Sandy Murray and Tony Derryberry, in order to provide Narcotic Detector support for the Chatham County Sheriff's Department.
As the program evolved, Major John Murray and Major John T. Wilcher guided the program's development under the direction of the Sheriff Al St Lawrence, to reach its present standing. During this process the unit has grown from one narcotic detector dog, Sgt. Elvis, into a nationally recognized leader in the effective use of Police Service Dogs. The Sheriff's K-9 Team is working to increase the professional standing of Police Service Dogs across the state, and is proud to represent Chatham County, both at the state and national level.