New K9 unit in Oxford


OXFORD — Officer Matt Hardin and K9 Roscoe are the newest additions to the K9 unit of the Oxford Police Division.

The two had an instant connection from the moment they met, back in the spring, and according to Hardin, Roscoe has already proven himself an asset to the team. The pair completed training on Aug. 4, and have been out on the streets since Aug. 8.

Hardin has been on the force since 2013. Before being a part of the K9 unit, he was a Field Training Officer (FTO) and a crash investigator with the Butler County Sheriff’s Start Team.

In the spring, he was selected to be the division’s next K9 handler. He said many of his reasons for applying for the position are “deeply personal,” but also that he was excited by the change and opportunities that a K9 could give to the community.

“A lot of it was, having a dog is a great tool that you can affect change in your community with,” he said. “His primary function is a locating tool. That ventures from tracking to narcotics detection to evidence recovery and things of that nature. A lot of times, the things people don’t hear about are that the dog can track a criminal, but he can also track an Alzheimer’s patient that needs care. You can track missing children. Things of that nature.”

“The opioid epidemic isn’t something that is new news to anybody,” Hardin said. “It’s across the country, not only in the State of Ohio — and Butler County plays a big part in that. Hopefully, having a K9 on the road can help us combat that and related issues.”

He added, being a K9 handler wasn’t on his “career bucket list,” but was instead an opportunity which presented itself.

“At the time I had been a police officer, even before this I spent time in a Marine Reserve Program for four years and was on active duty for a little more than two years. In that time a lot of my friends ended up becoming K9 handlers,” he said.

“Most of the guys I know, whether in the Marines or in the police world, were good cops, good marines, good at what they did, and good at the craft. It seemed like the highest caliber of police men that I knew were K9 Handlers. I wanted to be associated with that,” Hardin said.

Roscoe is a black German Shepard with tan markings. He was imported by Shallow Creek Kennels and originally comes from Holland. He was born in December 2015 and will be turning two years old this December. He is a dual purpose dog, who is trained in narcotics detection as well as patrol work — including tracking, search and recovery, and apprehension work.

To select Roscoe, Hardin traveled to Shallow Creek Kennels with Oxford Police Sergeant Ryan Sikora, who had been the K9 handler before his K9 Cole retired in November of 2016.

“They had a little over 20 dogs for us to choose from. There they did some displays for us, some selection tests we could watch with all of the dogs,” Hardin said. “We made our decision based on that. Throughout the day we dwindled our choices down to the three and then I spoke with Sgt. Sikora about things we should be looking for. We decided that Roscoe was the dog we would be going with.”

“His search patterns stood out to us,” Hardin said of Roscoe. “He is a high-drive dog, meaning that he has a strong desire to work. Working gives him joy. It was almost instant, I saw him an I knew he was going to be the dog.”

The K9 team began its training at Shallow Creek in June and finished on Aug. 4. The team’s first official shift was Aug. 8.

“Since then we’ve had several usages with him,” Hardin added.

“I think the K9 program is an asset to the community, because it is a great public relations thing,” Hardin said. “We can take the dog and do demos at schools and to community organizations, where some of those individuals have never had an interaction with a police officer or any interactions that they may have had have been in an enforcement role. Especially with kids in the schools, we can break down some barriers.”

“I think the biggest impact we can make with the dog is that he is a locating tool,” he added. “He is trained to find things and he is better at that then the human nose could ever be. We can combat a lot of the drug related issues. Hopefully, we can get some of that poison out of our community. Obviously, we aren’t going to be able to get everything, but if we can make an impact then that’s what we want to do.”

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Officer Matt Hardin and K9 Roscoe are the newest addition to the K9 unit of the Oxford Police Division. The pair completed their training and are officially out on the streets.
http://www.registerherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/41/2017/08/web1_K91.jpgOfficer Matt Hardin and K9 Roscoe are the newest addition to the K9 unit of the Oxford Police Division. The pair completed their training and are officially out on the streets. Submitted

By Kelsey Kimbler

kkimbler@registerherald.com

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH