CONYERS - The Conyers Police Department welcomed its newest member recently. She carries a badge and her name is Flossie.
The 3-year-old bloodhound joins Belgian Malinois Dutch and Rico as Conyers Police dogs. Flossie was purchased with drug forfeiture money for $4,000. The Police Department acquired her in May from Kasseburg Canine Training Center in New Market, Ala., and spent three months training with other bloodhounds for Alabama's state prison system before joining the Conyers Police.
Conyers Police Chief Cathcart explained bloodhounds use a combination of human odor and ground disturbance to locate fleeing criminals or a missing person.
Dutch and Rico are trained to alert their handlers to drugs and in suspect apprehension. The Police Department acquired Flossie for her innate ability to track and follow any scent for great distances.
"You don't like to see these days come around, but when there is a missing person, say an elderly person or an Alzheimer's patient who has wandered off, hopefully this will increase our ability to track people like that and get them back to a safer environment," Cathcart said.
Five CPD officers are trained bloodhound handlers. They include Officers Jason Heyman, Thomas Owen, Kristen Moore, Chad Sims and Brian Kirby.
Cathcart said that having five officers trained to work with the bloodhound increases the chances of an officer being available to work with the dog if the need arises.
"Malinois are very high-strung. They're leaders, so you have to be a bit more forceful in their training and letting them know who's in charge," Cathcart said.
"Bloodhounds are a more laid-back type of dog, a friendly dog, and that was the thought behind us having more than one handler. Hopefully, when the need arises for the dog, we will have someone available right away and not have to put somebody on call."
Jay Jones can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org