DEFUNIAK SPRINGS - Since 2004, K-9 Deputy “Lee'' has been busting bad guys in Walton County.
During his 9 year career, Lee has help catch dozens of suspects, found lost children, and even sniffed out more than 20 pounds of cocaine in 2010.
"Sheriff Adkinson is absolutely, 100% supportive of this program, because it just brings another level to what law enforcement does," said Catherine Rodriguez, Public Information Officer for the Walton County Sheriff's Office. "There are things the dogs can pick up, that just aid the handler.”
But it has not been an easy road for K-9 Lee or his handlers. The team begins training when the pup is just 11 months old, and it never stops.
His second handler, Sgt. Nick Bearden says it is important these dogs are ready for anything out there.
"It is not just going out there and throwing a toy," said Sgt. Bearden. "You train them nonstop. Once they get that, then we will move onto the next phase. It is just very repetitious training,”
Sergeant Bearden is already looking forward to training his new dog.
"There's going to be two or three dogs that are going to go through a selection process and they will be a Belgium or German Shepherd, which we are transitioning to a single purpose K-9 unit to multipurpose K-9 unit. So they will not only be doing narcotics, but apprehension work as well."
Lee's last day on the job will be this Sunday. He’ll spend his golden years with Sgt. Bearden and his family.