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HILLSVILLE — Carroll County's newest deputy has years of training and good instincts to rely upon while on patrol.
Tiesto, a three-year-old Belgian malinois who came to Hillsville from Holland, joins Brenda as the newest fleet-of-foot deputy with a nose for detecting illegal drugs and the skills to put the bite on uncooperative subjects.
The new purebred K9 cop, who looks like a sleeker version of a German shepherd, is trained in all patrol duties, says his handler, Deputy Cody Edwards.
Edwards and Tiesto went for a week's worth of training in December 2010, soon after the canine arrived in the U.S.
(Jan. 25 was the new deputy's birthday.)
As a team, they can undertake narcotics and article searches, suspect apprehension and tracking. Tiesto also will make appearances at schools.
"We have a jump and run, and he's ready to go tracking," the handler said. "He probably likes tracking the most."
Since going on the road, Tiesto had the opportunity and chase and stop a suspect Jan. 8.
Tiesto had two such encounters, but the first time the subject pulled a knife and Edwards called off the dog so he wouldn't be injured.
On the second occasion, the person just tried to flee.
The subject might have been fast — for a human — but nobody will outrun the malinois, Edwards expects. "You can only run until you get tired."
It's hard to imagine a partner that's more ready to go.
"He always has to be doing something," the deputy said of the energetic dog. "That's just the breed. They try so hard to make you happy."
While it might seem to someone that's been tackled that the dog is 68 pounds of fury, Tiesto has a quite sociable temperament. Edwards said the canine only turns aggressive at the Dutch language command of his handler.
Trained with drugs like marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy and heroin stuffed into a Kong chew toy, the dog's desire to play makes him efficient in searching vehicles. He even thinks it's fun.
Ever since joining law enforcement, Edwards has wanted to hit the road with this kind of partner at his side.
It's a lot of work, but Edwards also has a loyal companion.
"He's one you can count on," the deputy said. "He'll always keep his eyes on you."
Training at the Fayetteville (N.C.) Police Department certified Edwards and Tiesto with the International Police Workday Association.
Carroll's other tracking dog, Brenda, is getting to be 10 years old — kind of long in the tooth for a police K-9, Sheriff Warren Manning said. The sheriff's department will continue patrols with Brenda for as long as possible.
The cost for the new canine and training was $13,000, completely paid for with confiscated illegal drug money.