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K9 Unit

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We all know that dogs are man’s best friend, but in the Sheriff’s Office, they play a significantly larger role. The Cuyahoga County Sheriff's K-9 Unit originated in the late 1980's. Initially, it was comprised of a single narcotic detector dog and handler. The first K-9 team was an immediate success, making unprecedented seizures in Cuyahoga County. The team was so effective, that by 1990, the K-9 program had expanded to three K-9 interdiction teams.

By the mid 1990's, the K-9 unit had expanded to now include dual, or multi purpose dog's, capable of effecting arrests of fleeing fugitives and tracking suspects or lost persons and locating evidence that was discarded in dense cover or abandoned building, in the hopes of concealing its discovery by Sheriff's Deputies. The Sheriff also offer's these K-9 teams to area law enforcement agencies that might not otherwise have K-9 teams available to them.

Post 9-11, the Sheriff's Office recognized the need for the addition of explosive detector dogs and they were integrated into the K-9 unit as well.

Since the original K-9 team in the late 1980's, the unit's had 15 different dogs and 13 handlers. The unit presently has five K-9 teams, overseen by a Sergeant and Lieutenant. These teams are a tremendous asset to the department's work in narcotic interdiction, fugitive investigation, helping ensure a particular area is free of explosives, locating evidence and lost articles. The unit routinely works with area schools and community groups on drug awareness and prevention. In 2007, the K-9 unit was responsible for the seizure of over 4,000 pounds of marijuana and cocaine, participated in over five hundred arrests, 175 explosive searches and assisted two dozen federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. 

We are grateful for the community support the unit receives. The Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit is self sustaining. From the cost of the dog to their training and wellness, seizures made by these officers support the unit at no cost to County taxpayers.