The four-legged furry force is on patrol

A handler runs his dog through the obstacle course at MCLB Albany, / Sean Streicher

Dogs, canines, pooches; man's best friend can go by many names, some even call them partner.

"I love working in the K-9 unit, I've built a bond with my dog like no other so it's enjoyable," said Cpl Eric Strom with the Lee County K-9 Unit.

The Lee County Sheriff's office currently has two drug sniffing dogs, one of which is Ricky, a highly trained 3-year-old Labrador Retriever, who is certified to detect marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.

Ricky goes through training at least once a week with the results of each test being recorded, "We want to be able to show the courts that they are reliable, and that they know what they're doing and that they know the odors that they are trained to alert to," explains Cpl. Strom.

Just up the street, the Albany Police Department has a K-9 unit with a different purpose. Their 4-year-old German Sheppard Boobie, is trained to detected explosives.

Boobie, and his handler Kim Davis, train at least 16 hours a month, but it's not just the dog who benefits; "it's training me actually more so than him, because he knows what he's looking for, it's me that can mess up," explains Davis.

The Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany has dogs that can find bombs and also some that can find people.

"If you have a suspect that runs into the woods then we go in with the dog to find him or let's say someone is lost in the woods we'll send the dog in there to try and find them," explains Kennel Master Angela Dunwoodie.

The MCLB dogs also offer patrol services. These dogs are trained to attack if given the order, but if a suspect decides to surrender the dog will stop and stand guard.

A lot goes into training these dogs and they don't come at a cheap price, with some costing as much as $20,000 depending on the type of service they're trained for.

Fortunately, the Lee County Sheriff's office used seized drug funds to purchase their dogs and Albany police was given Boobie by GEMA for homeland security.

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