PRESCOTT -- Dec. 12, two Yavapai County Sheriff's deputies and their K9 partners graduated from the Arizona Correctional Officer Training Academy's (COTA) Basic K9 Service School. Deputy Jarrod Winfrey and his K9 companion Tjando, along with Deputy Eric Lopez and his K9 partner Miley, completed an intensive nine-week course at the Tucson-based academy. The training covered all aspects of K9 handling including legal issues, conditioning, search and detection scenarios, narcotics odor detection, handler protection, obedience, and K9 first aid, among many others.
Deputy Winfrey and Lopez will report to K9 supervisor Sgt. Jeff Jaeger. The K9 team is part of the multi-agency Partner Against Narcotics Trafficking (PANT) unit under Commander Bill Suttle. The main focus of the team is drug interdiction along major thoroughfares throughout Yavapai County. The team also assists in special investigations and is very active in community outreach.
Service dog Miley, a 2-year-old female Belgian Malinois, was selected by Sgt. Jaeger for assignment to Deputy Lopez. Miley replaced 9-year-old male Belgian Malinois Elliot, who retired and was purchased by his handler for one dollar. Veteran service dog Tjando, a 7-year-old male Dutch shepherd, was assigned to Jarrod Winfrey after Tjando's previous handler was transferred.
Deputy Winfrey already has extensive experience working complex narcotic cases due to his previous assignment as a detective with PANT. Deputy Lopez has been with YCSO for more than 2 years and has displayed the initiative and self-discipline required for a K9 handler.