By Leigh Ann Rutledge
FPS Accent Editor
Otis, an 18-month old German Shephard, is the newest member of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Department.
Otis and Carroll County Deputy Shane Beohm are known as the “K-9” unit in the department. Beohm recently received a bulletproof vest for Otis and a tracking harness from a donation from an area cooperative.
Carroll Electric Coopertive, Inc. donated $500 and the People-to-People Fund donated $1,000 to Beohm. The tracking harness and vest totaled $1,400 and the remaining $100 will go into the fund to cover veterinary expenses, food, etc.
Beohm became a special deputy in 2008 and graduated from The Law Enforcement Academy at Stark State in April 2010. Oz, Beohm’s canine at that time, was certified in June 2010, and they became a K-9 unit with the Sheriff’s Department. Oz is nine years old and Beohm is retiring him from duty.
Otis was certified to work with Beohm on patrol and narcotics Nov. 18 and served his first shift Nov. 20. “I brought Otis in preparing to use him for a few hours to begin with,” explained Beohm. “Our first traffic stop, Otis gets out and alerts on the vehicle.” Beohm looks behind him and sees Carroll County Sheriff Dale R. Williams standing back watching the scene. “I think to myself, ‘What is this dog doing?’ the Sheriff is watching,” Beohm said. “Then Otis climbs into the car.”
What was Otis doing? He was alerting Beohm, the Sheriff and fellow deputies to the residue and contraband they found inside the vehicle after a search. While Beohm expected a short night to let Otis “get his feet wet” he was surprised how well Otis worked. “The other factors out there, people, other smells, noises didn’t bother him,” Beohm stated. “He worked the cars well for his first night.”
“It all went perfect. People don’t realize how important the dogs are to our department,” Carroll County Sheriff Dale R. Williams said. “We reflect back to the search for murder suspect Buster Clark [May 2015], Oz was the main reason we found him.”
Beohm was quick to say, even though Otis is certified and ready to go, he will continue to work Oz during a transition period.
“Oz has always been there when called upon,” reflected Beohm. “He thinks the cruiser is his mobile home. I owe it to him to just not shut him down completely but to gradually bring him off the road.”
Oz is certified until June 2016. Beohm noted he will be selective when Oz is called to duty but he will work until Otis can carry load and is “firing on all cylinders.”
Oz will become more of a family dog as he goes into full retirement. He will get more liberties, like chasing a rabbit or getting on the bed, Beohm laughed.
Beohm acquired both dogs when they were eight-weeks old and has it specified the dogs remain with him and his wife, Melanie, throughout the dog’s lives. “We don’t have children,” Beohm explained. “The dogs are our children.”
The family factor runs deeper than the love the Beohm’s have for Oz and Otis. Oz is actually Otis’ uncle. The two dogs were purchased from a breeder in Barberton. They have a long lineage of working dogs and a bloodline thick with the working line, Beohm noted. Beohm was actually able to purchase Otis with a donation from Chesapeake Energy two years ago. According to Beohm, they contacted Chesapeake about possibly donating to help fund Otis and they assumed the total $1,800 cost.
“I can’t thank all the community members who participate in our fundraisers,” Beohm said. “The K-9 unit is based on community support.”
“It is an asset to have the dogs on our department,” Williams stated. “It is a great program that is going to continue as long as I am here. They are an added element to help protect the public.”