The Sheriff's K-9 Unit consists of four tracking canine teams and one canine team dedicated to narcotic detection. Two of the four tracking canines are crossed trained in narcotic detection and tracking.
The tracking canines are trained to locate, follow, and alert on fresh human scent, which includes suspects who walked or ran away from crime scenes or who barricaded themselves in a building or house.
Narcotic detection teams are trained to locate narcotics in a variety of different locations (i.e. buildings, vehicles, outside areas and more). Each team is trained to locate cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.
Prior to being deployed as a canine team, each handler and canine must complete a minimum amount of hours of basic training and pass the Oregon Police Canine Association (OPCA) Standards and/or the Pacific Northwest Police Detection Dog Association (PNWK9) Standards. These standards are demonstrated annually. Additionally, each team trains weekly to maintain proficiency in tracking and/or narcotic detection.
The K-9 Unit also participates in dozens of public demonstrations every year. To request a canine demonstration, please contact Sergeant Kevin Figueroa.
Deputy Don Maller
Deputy Don Maller joined the Sheriff's Office in 2005 and became a member of the K-9 unit in September 2013. Taz, a purebred German Shepard, was born on July 17, 2012 in Slovakia. Taz arrived in the United States before his first birthday and has been with the Sheriff's Office since July 2013. Taz is a narcotics detection canine and alerts to the odors of methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin.
Deputy Micah Akin
Deputy Micah Akin joined the Sheriff's Office in 2005 and became a member of the K-9 Unit in August of 2012. His partner Stark, a male Belgian Malinois/Shepherd, was born on April 01, 2011 in California. The team is dually certified to support regular patrol operations through OPCA as well as narcotics detection through OPCA and PNWK9.
Deputy Dan DiPietro
Deputy Dan DiPietro joined the Sheriff's Office in 2006 and became a member of the K-9 Unit in 2010. Deputy DiPietro's four-legged partner is Tux, a two-year-old Belgian Malinois dog. The team is dually certified to support regular patrol searches, as well as narcotics detection. Tux is a passive alert dog, which means that he sits when he finds the odor of narcotics to alert. Tux is trained to locate cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.
Deputy Michael Zaugg
Deputy Michael Zaugg started with the Sheriff's Office in 2010 and became a K-9 handler in 2015. His K-9 partner, Chase, is a purebred German Shepherd from Czech Republic. Chase was born on February 16, 2014. The team is trained to locate objects or articles with fresh human scent, find lost or missing people, and track and apprehend suspects. Deputy Zaugg and Chase are also part of Washington County's Tactical Negotiations Team (TNT), or SWAT.