Chili and Charli protect and serve the community

| January 7, 2021

Coshocton County is lucky to have two K-9 units with the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office to serve and protect residents. Pictured from left are Detective Dave Stone and Charli and Deputy Steven Mox and Chili. Later this spring, a third K-9 will join the department. (Jen Jones)

Coshocton County is lucky to have two K-9 units with the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office to protect the county, search for missing persons or suspects and to search for illegal substances. Later this spring, a third K-9 will join the department.

Detective Dave Stone has been a K-9 officer since 2007 and is now working with his third dog, Charli. He was also Dingo and Henata’s handler. Henata retired last fall (she still lives with Stone), and Charli took her place. “Henata is not really enjoying her retirement – she loves working,” said Stone. K-9 dogs usually serve 8 – 10 years, depending on the dog’s health. Charli is a two-year-old Belgian Malinois.

Chili is a six-year-old Belgian Malinois, and his handler is Deputy Steven Mox. Mox has been a K-9 officer since 2017. The Belgian Malinois are built smaller and it’s easier for them to ride in the deputies’ cars all day.

The K-9 unit’s primary focus is drug enforcement. Both Chili and Charli are able to search cars, people and locations for narcotics and will signal to their handler when they find something. When searching vehicles, the dogs are trained to search every crack and crevice that might contain drugs. They search the entire vehicle, both low and high.

Charli and Chili are used for more than drugs. When high risk warrants are served, the dogs are often there. They are also used to search for missing persons or suspects and to locate evidence after a crime has been committed.

Chili and Deputy Mox were the unit that found a gun used in a double homicide in Coshocton County. “We were searching the field along 36 between Hahn’s and Wal-Mart when Chili found it.” Chili and Charli aren’t searching for the item itself, but things will human odor on it. When an item is found, the dog will lay on top of it until the handler releases the dog.

Detective Stone shared that several years ago, while he was working with Dingo, a local business was robbed. Dingo was able to find several missing items, including earrings, and signaled each time he found something. “They can find things that small – things we can’t usually see.”

When the dogs are searching for people, they aren’t searching for that person’s smell. Chili and Charli are smelling fresh dirt that may signal someone walked through the area or they are smelling “fear odor” that people give off when they are scared.

Stone remembered using Henata to find two missing children. “It was around fair time, and the area was brushy and had briars. We were about ¾ mile from the house, and I was beginning to think she was just taking me for a walk and not really tracking. But she was tracking – I saw their jackets through the woods, and she took me to them.” When an area has been too trampled for Chili and Charli to get a good scent, local bloodhounds, owned by Janie and Larry Stahl are brought in. The bloodhounds are given a specific scent to search for, instead of ground disturbance.

Chili and Charli are rewarded after every job. They each have a favorite toy and have a deep drive and excitement to work hard so they get their reward. Stone said there really isn’t a big difference between male and female dogs, except that males might have a little more drive. A few minutes of tug a war is a big incentive for both Charli and Chili.

Each deputy is certified with his dog. When Mox gives Chili commands, they are in German, while Stone and Charli use English. Even though both deputies are certified handlers, their dogs don’t respond well to anyone other than their own handler. They train together for six weeks, and the dogs will do as commanded instantly.

Charli and Chili are willing to do demonstrations for any group that would like to see what they can do. The deputies don’t go into schools as much as they used to, but they do use the dogs as bridges to reach children who may have been taught that deputies are not good guys. “We like going into the schools with the older kids,” said Mox. “They understand more of what the dog is used for.”  Again, the dogs can bridge a gap between students and deputies.

It’s more difficult to take the dogs into schools with younger students. “Kids tend to want to play with the dogs and their (the dogs) purpose is to take down bad guys. It’s a fine line to walk with small kids,” said Stone. He said he was always the guy to let people pet his dogs, but trainers now say that is a bad idea, so he isn’t as open to letting people pet Charli.

The sheriff’s office will be adding a third K-9 unit this spring. Deputy Jeremy Johnson will start his training with Rip, a Dutch Shepherd, in March. They will be working 12 hour shifts so most of the time, there will be two K-9’s on duty instead of one. The department considered taking Stryder, a K-9 that West Lafayette had purchased, but he had some issues that were concerning. That’s when the department realized they could use another dog.

Rip was purchased with money from the county prosecutor’s office with federal seizure funds from several large drug busts. There are only certain things the federal seizure money can be used for, and the purchase and training of a K-9 is one of them. Deputy Johnson and Rip will be patrolling the county in late spring.

Both dogs have vests that are donated by Vested Interest in K-9’s, Inc. “We have to fill out a bunch of paperwork and they donate the vests,” said Stone.

Stone said they really appreciate the support the K-9 unit gets from the community. “Our unit is run by a lot of community donations, and we appreciate that they understand how important the dogs are to the department.” Mox agreed with him and said, “We really want to thank everyone for supporting us.”

Tags: , ,

Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

Comments are closed.