The Marion County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit was formally established in 1987 and has currently has eight K-9 teams. Six K-9 teams are trained and certified for narcotic detection and one team is certified in explosives detection. All eight teams are trained for patrol applications. Each team within the K-9 Unit completes an annual certification that is mandated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Along with detection training, the teams are also trained in human tracking, article and building searches, criminal apprehension and handler protection. The K-9 teams work alongside with the patrol deputies daily while providing assistance with the needs and requests of the other specialty units within the Agency.
The mission of the K-9 Unit is to support all law enforcement activity and the community of Marion County. This support is a force multiplier which assists in the apprehension of fleeing criminals, warrant searches, building and area searches, search and rescue, pursuits, illegal drug eradication, bomb searches, along with assisting patrol deputies with in-progress calls for service. Aside from their law enforcement duties, the K-9 teams visit schools, churches and businesses to give demonstrations of their canine’s abilities and to educate and give the public a better understanding of what the team is utilized for.