BREMERTON — The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Department will be hosting a K-9 show at the Kitsap County Fair from Aug. 22-26.
The demonstrations will be held every day of the fair at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. behind Presidents Hall of the Kitsap County Fairgrounds.
The mission of the K-9 Unit is to locate suspects and evidence at or near crime scenes and to provide protection and backup for officers when possible and practical. They also participate in public education and demonstrations.
The unit consists of two tracking/protection dogs. The K-9 handlers and their partners undergo an exhaustive training regimen upon entrance to the program, and continue to train on a weekly basis to maintain a high level of proficiency.
“It’s one of those things that have evolved into a tradition,” Deputy Scott Wilson said. “Not long after the K-9 program was established, we thought this would be a great idea to put on demonstrations at the fair where lots of people come to. If you don’t make it one day, you can come the next day. The purpose is to show and present the capabilities of the K-9 program.”
Demonstrations involve how the K-9s are trained, their daily activities, how deputys keep them healthy and commands to the K-9 both on and off leash.
“These dogs are not ferocious beasts; the dog is a member of our agency,” Wilson said. “They are, for the most part, outgoing and friendly animals. Their job is to do the task for whatever their mission is, whether it’s narcotics or tracking.”
The Sheriff’s Department’s two tracking K-9s are Titan and Heiko. Titan is handled by Deputy Joe Hedstrom and Heicko is handled by Deputy Aaron Baker. There are also two K-9s in training, both of which were at the show at last year’s fair and will be again at this year’s fair.
Blue and his littermate, Jax, were sired by Titan. Blue got his name from the color of a collar used to distinguish him from his siblings. Jax is named in honor of one of Hedstrom’s dogs, Ajax, who served with the officer from 2008 until his retirement in 2012 after being injured in the line of duty.
Baker and Hedstrom are each housing and training the two puppies themselves. If and when the current dogs retire, the two young ones could be next in line for service.