Stone County residents who happen to be dog lovers will be pleased to see Roxy, the Stone County Sheriff’s Department’s K-9 officer, back in circulation.
Those who would attempt to traffic illicit drugs through the county, well, maybe not so much.
Deputy Nick Freeman has received his certification as a K-9 handler and the pair are patrolling county roads.
“She’s been with me ever since the last handler left the department,” Freeman said. “I just had to get the certification before I could take her out in an official capacity.”
Sheriff Mike Farmer is pleased to have his K-9 officer back on duty.
Roxy was purchased with contributions from citizens and businesses in the community.
“We’ve got a very good dog and now we have a very good handler to work with her,” Farmer said.
Freeman is a 30-year-old graduate of the Harrison County Law Enforcement Training Academy and earned his K-9 certification from US K9 Unlimited in Abbeville, La., the same kennel from which Roxy was purchased.
“I’ve always been an animal lover and had dogs of my own, so this was a natural fit for me,” he said. “I actually asked for the position.”
Roxy is a Doberman Pinscher/Labrador mix who has been trained as a drug-detection dog.
She’s trained to recognize the scent of marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine.
For now, Freeman must also fill the role of patrol deputy, and deploys Roxy as needed if another deputy believes the K-9 unit is necessary.
He would like to see a time when he and his partner can work full time in drug interdiction.
“Because of where Stone County is located, with two major roads bisecting the county, it’s natural that a lot of drugs being transported are going to go through here,” he said.
On a recent Thursday night, Freeman had Roxy along as he patrolled the county.
At one point, the Stone County and George County sheriffs’ departments teamed up at a couple of different locations on the county line to establish a safety checkpoint.
Both departments had their K-9 officers at the checkpoints, but neither were brought into service.
“Some nights are just naturally going to be more busy than others,” Freeman said.
And so, drug dealers beware: Stone County has another tool to deploy in its effort to stop the illicit drug trade.
Roxy’s on the job.