Meet Opie, a handsome and curious German shepherd from the Czech Republic, who will soon become one of the newest patrol and drug detection K9 members of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office. Opie was acquired earlier this year after Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, tossed a grant to the CCSO worth $8,000, as part of his longtime commitment to enhancing K9 units for police and fire departments throughout the country.
Opie joined the CCSO when he was 16-months old and has been with his human partner, PFC Steven Davis – a 12-year-veteran – ever since. They are currently in K9 patrol training for 16 weeks and will continue with narcotics detection school for another 10 weeks. Upon graduation, they will become a vital part of patrol operations. “Opie will be able to help officers track missing or wanted persons, search for evidence, and conduct other essential patrol duties,” said Sheriff Troy D. Berry.
As far as Opie’s personality, his handler says Opie is focused while training, loves rewards for doing a good job, and is completely lovable when he’s not working. “Opie is really good at obedience, mostly because he loves to play fetch after we’re done training. When I bring him home after work, he loves to play with my children and our other dogs,” said PFC Davis. “In fact, Opie and my daughter have a special bond she formed on her own. She likes to greet Opie with a very high-pitched, sweet voice whenever she says hello to him, and Opie tilts his head whenever he hears her voice as if he’s paying full attention. She doesn’t use that voice with our other dogs.”
With the grant, the agency was also able to purchase other necessities for all of the K9’s to include heated water buckets; large, durable Kong toys used as rewards for the K9’s; and two transport kennels. “We greatly appreciate the grants Mr. Roethlisberger has provided to us. They benefit not only our K9’s and their partners, but they also benefit our communities because the dogs are more readily available to help with calls for service,” said Sheriff Berry.
“I’m proud of everyone who worked on this grant. It was a collaborative effort between the CCSO and the Department of Emergency Services. They worked hard to prepare the grant application and their efforts paid off. We are so grateful to the The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation for selecting us,” said Sheriff Berry. This is the second grant the CCSO has been awarded from The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation – the first was in 2014 in which the agency purchased Cooper, a Belgian Malinois, who went on to become a bronze medal winner in the 2015 World Police & Fire Games.
A quote from The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation’s website explains Mr. Roethlisberger’s reason for providing these grants: “My Dad instilled in me a love and respect for animals. This is a good way to combine that passion with a desire to support the police and fire departments, which deserve all the appropriate resources needed to protect our cities and neighborhoods, and allow these brave men and women to arrive home safely.”
Mr. William Cotton, Lead K9 Trainer for the CCSO, said the K9 Unit currently has 11 canines that work with patrol officers during each shift, every day of the week. All K9’s are crossed trained in drug detection and patrol, and two of the eleven dogs are skilled in explosive odor detection.
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is a full-service law enforcement agency comprised of more than 600 police, corrections and civilian personnel responsible for protecting more than 150,000 residents. The CCSO was accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) in 2001 has been designated as a CALEA Gold Standard of Excellence agency since 2011. Established in 1658, the CCSO is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the United States. For more information, visit www.ccso.us.
Charles County Crime Solvers offers rewards of up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest or indictment of a person responsible for a crime in Charles County. Anyone with information about an unsolved crime or the location of a fugitive may contact Charles County Crime Solvers by calling 1-866-411-TIPS, texting CHARLES + the tip to CRIMES (274637) or submitting tips online at tipsubmit.com. All individuals who provide tips through Crime Solvers will remain anonymous. Learn more at the CCSO’s website.