SHELTON, Wash. - Sheriff Casey Salisbury announced Tuesday that the Mason County Sheriff’s Office has purchased it’s new Patrol K-9. The K-9 is a two year old pure bred German Shepard from an eastern European bloodline that deputies have named “Rohn”
Rohn comes partially trained and was obtained from Everett Police Officer, Suzanne Eviston, who owns and operates Von Gunheide Shepherds, located in Snohomish, Washington. Suzanne Eviston has been working with the German Shepherd breed since she was thirteen years old. At 15, she became involved in the training of police service dogs in her hometown of Vancouver, Canada, playing the "bad guy" for police agencies over the years. She carried her passion for police service dogs into her adult life and is now a Police Officer and K-9 handler.
Eviston's dogs can be found in Police agencies all over North America and internationally. She assisted in founding the Vancouver (Canada) Police Department's puppy program, which has many of her dogs. The Vancouver Police Department currently works 17 dogs, over half of which are from her breeding program.
Von Grunheide Shepherds are also actively working in agility, Schutzhund, competition obedience, tracking and search and rescue. Most importantly they are stable, social dogs that are balanced enough to fit into the family environment and WORK!
Rohn is named in honor of retired Sheriff’s Lieutenant Dennis Rohn, who served 31 years with the Orange County, California, Sheriff’s Department. Mr. Rohn now resides at Lake Cushman where he has been active in the community on public safety issues. Mr. Rohn has been a proponent of the Sheriff’s K-9 program and has been very helpful in getting this program started. For many years Mr. Rohn has been at the forefront as a community partner to Sheriff’s Office and has always been dedicated community service.
During the selection process deputies tested a total of eight different dogs. All of the dogs tested were graded on a variety of traits consistent with those needed to be a quality patrol dog. They include endurance, aggression, the ability to track and others. Rohn achieved the highest score of the eight tested.
Training for the K-9 and handler will begin on January 11, 2010. Deputy Gray and Rohn will be training under master trainer, Deputy John Munson, Pierce County Sheriff’s Office. When the 10 week training course is completed, Rohn with his handler, Deputy Gray will be certified to track and apprehend suspects, do building searches, search for articles and evidence. This team will compliment the already successful, narcotics K-9 team of Kona and Deputy Sean Dodge.
Deputy Mat Gray is a two year veteran of the Mason County Sheriff’s Office and has a total of 8 years of law enforcement experience. His experience and dedication will contribute significantly to the success of the program.
According to Sheriff Casey Salisbury “the Patrol K-9 Program would not have been possible without the numerous community partnerships we have established. I would like to thank Our Community Credit Union for their generous donation, Daniel’s Grill for hosting a three day fund raiser and Walmart for their generous donation, just to name a few of the contributors. We have received many generous contributions from private citizens who chose to invest in the safety and security of our community. Lastly, I would like to thank Dr. Gary Olsen, owner of Shelton Veterinary Clinic for providing medical care for both Sheriff’s Office K-9’s. Proper medical care for these dogs is huge.”
When trained and deployed the team will be used as a locating tool to find suspects of serious crimes and aid in their capture. The K9 team will also be instrumental in the safe, thorough search of buildings and other hazardous areas and provide an added layer of protection for the law enforcement officers during these dangerous operations. During these challenging times of diminishing revenues and staff reductions, the need for a K-9 unit is even more pressing. Deputy Gray said “It is my hope this program will increase the number of captures of fleeing felony suspects, while decreasing the overall number of dangerous pursuits and suspects trying to elude us.”
Above is a photo of Dr. Gary Olsen, K-9 Rohn and Deputy Sheriff Matt Gray
Above is a photo of K-9 Rohn and his handler Deputy Sheriff Matt Gray