POINT PLEASANT — Its been said a dog’s nose, knows. For K9s, those noses can get into some dangerous situations.
This is why Jerry, a K9 with the Mason County Sheriff’s Department, was recently awarded a Naloxone/Narcan overdose reversal kit and trauma kit by the group K9s of Valor.
K9s of Valor, located in Texas, is an all volunteer, 501c(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide life saving and essential equipment such as K-9 trauma kits, Narcan overdose reversal kits and Hot-N-Pop vehicle heat alarms to help keep police dogs throughout the country safe.
Mason County Sheriff’s Department K9 Officer, Deputy Justin Veith, heard about the program through a fellow deputy in Brook County. The Narcan and trauma kits were free of charge to the department and Jerry.
Veith said it makes sense to have the Narcan kit for Jerry, as he is an officer with the department. Human deputies in the department now carry Narcan as well, should it be needed for accidental exposure to powerful opioids or to assist saving a civilian’s life.
“Obviously, his (Jerry’s) nose is better than our’s,” Veith pointed out, adding Jerry uses that nose to do his job; his job that entails sniffing out narcotics which makes him vulnerable to exposure.
These days, coming into contact with heroin or fentanyl can be deadly without the opioid reversing medication, Naloxone found in Jerry’s kit from K9s of Valor.
“A K9 is another police officer,” Sheriff Greg Powers said about the value the department places on the animals. “They are a tool we use for fighting drugs. We don’t want to lose a K9 partner because of a drug overdose.”
Drug overdoses have become an all too common sight, not only for EMS personnel but now law enforcement. Powers reported Veith recently had to use Narcan on an unresponsive passenger in a vehicle along U.S. 35 to revive the person, possibly saving their life.
Now four years old, Jerry is equipped with a bulletproof and stab-proof vest (also raised with donations to the department) as he works the county with Veith. The trauma kit will come in handy should Jerry ever get wounded and Veith need to apply first aid until he can receive vet care.
In addition to finding all manner of drugs on people, in packages and in hidden compartments in vehicles, Jerry also tracks and can do take downs of suspects. Jerry is a four-legged crime deterrent tool, Veith said. Suspects often become cooperative when it comes to giving up alleged drugs before the dog begins its search of a vehicle. Also, suspects hiding from law enforcement often will give themselves up if they know the dog is about to be turned loose to locate them.
One of Jerry’s more recent, bigger busts was assisting the Mason Police Department in finding 14 grams of suspected methamphetamine. Jerry and Veith often assist other departments and can visit clubs and organizations to give demonstrations on how Jerry works, as do the other K9 officers with the department which include Deputy Ferrell and Lt. Troy Stewart. Jerry’s even attended a Halloween party at Petland of Gallipolis, Ohio which donates dog food to the K9. Like his human counterparts, he’s become well known in the community he serves.
Once off duty, Jerry goes home with Veith and becomes the family pet but now, thanks to the Narcan and trauma kits, he has a better chance of making it home each night.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.