September 23, 2014

Sheriff’s department welcomes new deputy

By James Kuch
News Editor | news@arenacindependent.com
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ARENAC COUNTY— The Arenac County Sheriff’s Department has welcomed a new deputy to their team.

Sonic, an 18-month-old Dutch Shepherd, was sworn into duty on Monday, Aug. 1 by his handler, Officer Jason Cockrell. Sonic is the first member of the newly formed Arenac County Canine Team.

Cockrell said that Sonic will begin working Friday, Aug. 5. He said this is first time since 2001 that the department has had a canine unit.

“I think just having Sonic around will have an impact on the illegal use of drugs in the area,” he said. “As soon as people know he is out there, we will see less use.”

Cockrell said Sonic is trained to locate marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, crack/cocaine. He added that Sonic has completed seven weeks of training to be able to find illegal drugs.

“His training is not done yet,” he said. “There are still some things that he has to learn.”

Cockrell said that Sonic is trained to find drugs and sit down when he comes across the location of the drugs. He added that Sonic has a drive that a previous donated dog, named Jimmy, did not have.

“He (Sonic) was bred to be worked,” he said. “I have to stay on him all the time so that he does not act too hyper.”

Undersheriff Donald McIntyre said that Sonic was found in a pound in Detroit. He added that the addition of a canine team will be a benefit to the Sheriff’s Department.

“Not only will he be an aid to our department, but he will also be available to help surrounding counties,” he said.

“The Ogemaw County Sheriff’s Department could call us and ask us for help and we could be there,” Cockrell said.

Jody Wilk, who has been raising funds for the program, said she is happy that the program is finally starting.

“I am ecstatic,” she said. “We have waited 556 days for this.”

Wilk said she, members of her family and the community have raised over $13,000 for the program.

“We now have funding to keep this program going,” she said.

Contributor Kipp Meisel said people in the area were willing to help.

“This is a program that people believe in,” he said. “Many people were blown away when I told them that there was not a canine unit here.”

Wilk said the support of the community was key in getting the program started.

“This is something that we needed to do,” she said.

Cockrell said that he and Sonic will continue to work together and stay sharp.

“He will always need me to work with him,” Cockrell said. “By training, we will keep him sharp.”

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