Meet Pell City's new K-9 police officer, Voodoo
by Elsie Hodnett
PELL CITY – The police department has a new officer with a nose for detective work.

“I recently became a certified K-9 officer with Voodoo, a 3-year-old, 115-pound male solid black German Shepherd,” said Pell City K-9 Officer Jimmy Woodard.

Woodard said he has raised German Shepherds for the past 10 years, and has been involved with dog training for several years.

“I’ve been training with Voodoo for the past three months,” he said.

Woodard said he received Voodoo from Canine Concepts Inc. in Springville.

“I want to give a big thanks to the Hanrahans, who own Canine Concepts, who have helped us with the training and certificate updates,” he said. “Sgt. Richard Woods also recently recertified with his dog, Johnny.”

Woodard said now that the department has two K-9 officers, they can divide the workload and assist more law enforcement agencies.

“This gives us more paws on the ground,” he said. “Before, the entire workload fell to Sgt. Woods.”

Woodard said Voodoo’s responsibilities include narcotics detection and other duties, such as locating evidence.

“We are constantly undergoing training,” he said. “One of the things we are training on is tracking, which will help locate wanted and/or missing persons. We plan to fly out to Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona, for training probably in September.”

Woodard said he and Voodoo have already assisted the Moody Police Department with school searches, the Oxford Police Department with home searches and the Alabama State Troopers with vehicle searches.

“We assist the local agencies upon request,” he said.

Woodard said Voodoo is one of the officers, who attends roll call every day. The partners work every shift together.

“Voodoo is one of the family, as well as an officer,” he said. “The bond between a canine handler and their dog is a very special one—I spend more time with Voodoo than I do with my wife.”

Woodard said he wants to remind people that K-9 officers are working dogs, and you should always ask permission before approaching the dog.

Police Chief Greg Turley said having two K-9 officers has been one of the department’s goals to provide greater shift coverage.

“We have been able to help out other law enforcement agencies with searches of schools and correctional facilities, as well as vehicle searches,” he said. “No agency has all the resources it needs, so we all work together. It’s nice to be an agency that has these K-9 resources and can help other agencies so we can keep our communities safe.”

Contact Elsie Hodnett at ehodnett@dailyhome.com.

© 2013