The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit consists of two handlers and two canines. Each member of the unit is assigned to the Uniform Services Division to supplement police operations. Because of their keen sense of smell, hearing, and potential aggressiveness, the canine is a valuable resource in such cases as apprehending criminal offenders who may flee a scene on foot, building searches, searching for illegal narcotics in vehicles, buildings and homes, article searches, searching for missing and vulnerable persons and protecting their handler during dangerous situations. Throughout the year, members of the K-9 Unit participated in numerous civic events and demonstrations of not only the canine's skills but the handler as well.
In 2022, the Sheriff's Office added an Electronic Detective K-9 "Stretch". His handler is Deputy James Liedel. Stretch is an American yellow Labrador Retriever born on July 15, 2020. Stretch is considered a Red Labrador as his color is dark. Stretch is certified in electronic device detection, which includes sim cards, SD cards, flash drives, computers, tablets, hard drives and cell phones. Electronic devices are a main source of information related to human trafficking investigations. With that being said, Stretch will be used in a variety of law enforcement related activities including being a member of the Sheriff’s Office VIPER Task force and utilized in all human trafficking related investigations.
Stretch is the third certified electronic detection canine in the state of Michigan. The other two canines belong to the Michigan State Police in Lansing. The services of Stretch and Deputy Liedel will be made available to all law enforcement agencies in the State of Michigan upon request.
Stretch was donated to the Sheriff’s Office by the Shielded Souls Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club. The donation covered the purchase of Stretch and all the costs related to his training at the Todd Jordan K-9 Academy in Indiana. Deputy Liedel participated in a highly intensive two-week handler course at the end of the 12-week academy with Stretch. Stretch was released to the Sheriff’s Office following him and Deputy Liedel’s certification on May 27, 2022. The Shielded Souls named Stretch after a distinguished fallen member of their club who was one of the driving forces behind the fundraising event to support the canine. This electronic device canine would not have been a reality absent their significant donation.