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Photos: 8 new K-9s join Ohio sheriff’s office efforts to combat drugs in jails

The eight new CO handlers and their K-9s bring Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department to 10 fully staffed units

By Joshua Gunter

CLEVELAND, Ohio— Monday marked an historic day for the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, adding eight new dogs to the corrections department in a graduation ceremony. The graduates bring the total to 10 fully staffed units.

Cleveland City Council added funding for four dogs to the 2024-2025 budget. The other four dogs were purchased with commissary funds.

The new corrections officer handlers and their dogs received certifications, having passed the North American Police Work Dog Association Narcotics Detection Canine Certification training and test.

The 16-week training course wasn’t easy, according to Cuyahoga County Sheriff Harold Pretel.

“It was a long road and a hard road, but it’s important that was have the right caliber and well prepared officers and K-9 teams that are going to be doing this,” Pretel said.

This was graduate Kimberly Johnson’s second time through the course, this time being paired with a young and energetic Golden Retriever named Otis.

“I was given the opportunity to get a second dog and definitely didn’t want to pass it up. I absolutely love it,” she said.

The canine units are assigned to the Cuyahoga County Corrections Center. Their mission is to detect and prevent contraband, including illegal drugs, from entering the Corrections Center. Pretel emphasized that the dogs will play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety of all who enter the facility.

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