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Sheriff’s Office adds K-9 unit

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The Chaves County Sheriff’s Office has a K-9 unit now.

The Sheriff’s Office sent a newly hired deputy, Gauge Kennard, to receive national certification from a K-9 detection training program in Liberty Hill, Texas, from Jan. 3 to Jan. 16.

During the training, Kennard was paired with Felek, an 18-month-old male Belgian Malinois.

“The dog pretty much picks you,” said Chaves County Undersheriff Charles Yslas. “They can tell when a dog works well with someone.”

The $8,000 training and the estimated $1,890 in expenses were paid out of a $15,000 anonymous donation the Sheriff’s Office received Oct. 29, according to county documents. The Chaves County Board of Commissioners approved the out-of-state travel costs during its Thursday meeting.

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Yslas said that Felek is the first K-9 for the Sheriff’s Office since about 1996.

“We believe this one will work out well,” he said, “and we will consider adding another one if there is an opportunity and need to do so.”

Sheriff Mike Herrington said that Felek can jump 9 feet in the air and that his name means “fate,” which he found appropriate.

“It is kind of interesting to see that because it is going to be your fate to meet him if you have drugs,” Herrington said. “He is sworn in. He does carry a commission card. He is a deputy sheriff.”

The Roswell Police Department started its K-9 unit in May with two dogs, K-9 Auda and K-9 Kazan. The city’s program also received some community donations to offset costs of acquiring the dogs and training officers as handlers.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.