The Clay County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday hired a new employee to help control the rampant drug problem officials say plagues the county.
“Ronaldo,” a four-year-old Belgian malinois, was donated by the Birmingham company IK9, along with the 1st Foundation at the Anniston facility.
IK9, which has a facility in Anniston, trains detection dogs for military and law enforcement and provides service and emotional support dogs to those in need, according to IK9 director of operations Danny Turner.
Turner, who is also a Heflin police officer, said that 1st Foundation, a nonprofit, donates dogs to help out law enforcement.
“We do a lot of things in the community and this is just one of the other things that we’re trying to do for our immediate community here,” Turner said.
Turner said that two months ago a similar K9 was donated to a law enforcement agency in Polk County, Ga., that has benefited from the dog’s ability to detect narcotics.
That dog has been on 18 deployments yielding numerous arrests for marijuana, methamphetamine and pills according to Turner.
“It’s been very successful, that’s what we’re trying to do here,” Turner said.
Jim Studdard, Clay County Sheriff, Chief Deputy Jason Freeman and Deputy Trent Adams, who will be paired up with Ronaldo, were on hand at the IK9 facility to pick up the K9.
Studdard said the K9 will be a great benefit and allow the sheriff’s office to get more drugs off the street than previously.
“We can also use him in the school system and just use him throughout the county,” said Studdard.
Studdard said that Ronaldo will join another K9 in the county at another agency so the county will be better equipped to handle traffic stops and other situations.
Adams, who has previous experience with narcotics dogs, said he is looking forward to his new partner.
“It’s something I’ve always had a passion for, and as far as our county, we do have a drug problem there in Clay County and this will be another tool and asset to our department,” said Adams.
Adams said the number one illicit drug in Clay County is methamphetamine, which creates a domino effect of crime.
“It leads to other issues within our county, burglaries, thefts, things of that nature, so it’s all related in our county but it’s all driven by drugs,” Adams said.