BCSO honors canine officers at memorial

By John Underwood / john@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 6/4/18

ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — As a patrol officer with the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Department, Sgt. Randy Younce relies on his partner for support.

“He has my back and I have his,” said …

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BCSO honors canine officers at memorial

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ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — As a patrol officer with the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Department, Sgt. Randy Younce relies on his partner for support.

“He has my back and I have his,” said Younce.

Younce is one of the few officers in the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Department who operates with a department. Up until recently, his partner was a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois named Troy.

“In our department, the only officers who operate with a partner are our officers who have a canine partner,” said Baldwin County Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack Jr. “They are an invaluable tool for our department.”

For Younce and his family, however, Troy was much more than that, so when he died last week after serving the department for eight years, the last three with Younce, it was a devastating blow.

“He was more than a partner, he was a member of our family,” Younce said. “When I told my son and my wife about his passing, they both cried. We lost a member of our family.”

On Friday, May 25, just days before the nation honored military personnel who have died in service to their country on Memorial Day, members of the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Department gathered to honor Troy’s member and all of those canine officers who have served on the front lines in Baldwin County.

Mack also presented a plaque in honor of the county’s first canine officer, a German Sheppard named Dingo, assigned to Deputy Langston Rowe under Sheriff Thomas “Buck” Benton, then reassigned to Deputy Jim Stallworth under Sheriff Jimmy Johnson.

Mack also read the names of canine officers, 13 in all, who have served with the Sheriff’s Department through the years.

While the majority of canine officers used by the department have been Belgian Malinois, the department’s newest officer, Angie, is a pure bred Bloodhound, which will be used for tracking, primarily through the department’s Project Lifesaver program.

The department will likely add two canine officers in the coming months, Mack said.

“Particularly when it comes to the ‘War on Drugs’ canine officers have been used to take dozens of criminals off the street and have been instrumental in the seizure of millions of dollars in illegal drugs through the years,” Mack said. “They have also proved invaluable in public relations, particularly in our schools and with our annual Shining Star camps.”