By Adam Armour
Itawamba County Times
FULTON – The Itawamba County Sheriff’s Department has a new K9 officer with a very special talent: sniffing out bombs.
Homeland Security recently donated Reese, a Labrador/pit bull mix who’s been trained to locate bombs, to the county sheriff’s department. Reese is the county’s third K9 officer, joining two drug and tracking dogs, Bing and Walter.
Reese has been partnered with Capt. Jason Dickinson, and the two of them began an eight-week training session on Monday. Although Reese already has been trained in and has successfully located weapons in the field, Dickinson said the training process will help teach them to work as partners.
“I’ll learn how to handle her, how to watch her when she hits and work on her obedience,” he said.
Once fully trained to work with each other, Reese will work in a variety of situations. Given that her specialty is locating explosives, she will be deployed any time there is a bomb threat within Itawamba County or neighboring areas.
“She’s young, but she’s been trained to find all kinds of explosives,” Dickinson said, citing C4, dynamite and gunpowder.
“If someone at a crime scene throws away a gun nearby, she can find it,” Dickinson said. While working in Jackson, Reese was able to locate a gang member’s handgun while searching a Greyhound bus.
Reese also will be tied to the Tupelo Police Department Bomb Squad, helping it out when needed.
According to the sheriff, Homeland Security initially offered Reese to his department due to the lack of bomb dogs in the area.
As a bonus, unlike the county’s other police dogs, Bing and Walter, Reese will interact with children at schools. She’s fully of bouncy, boundless energy, making her a very personable dog and a good introduction of K9 officers to the county’s children.
“The first thing a kid wants to do is pet the dog,” Dickinson said. “Well, kids can pet her. She’s very lovable.”