• Atascosa County Sheriff’s office | Courtesy photo Deputy Sheriff Daniel Kaufman and his K-9 partner, Gerben are flanked by Chief Deputy Sheriff Cregg Thompson (left) and Chief Investigator Jake Guerra, who are Deputy Kaufman’s immediate supervisors.

Sheriff’s office receives K-9

Atascosa County Sheriff David Soward has announced the addition of a Narcotics Detection Dog to his arsenal against illegal drugs being used, sold and smuggled in Atascosa County. The sheriff said this is the first K-9 Unit in the history of the Atascosa County Sheriff’s Office.

An 11-month-old Dutch Sheppard trained in the detection of several various kinds of narcotics went to work late last month with his handler, Deputy Sheriff Daniel Kaufman. Deputy Kaufman obtained the dog through his VA Benefits and the dog was donated to Deputy Kaufman and the sheriff’s office who will be co-owners. The K-9, named Gerben, went through 10 weeks of specialized training before going through 2 weeks of training with his handler. Gerben currently weighs 45 pounds but is expected to reach 65 pounds when fully grown.

One of the biggest concerns I hear a lot is the use of illegal drugs in our community and the lives the drugs destroy. Gerben and Deputy Kaufman are another tool that we will deploy against the local drug trafficking, Sheriff Soward explained. The sheriff stated that the donation of the dog valued at over $8,000 did not cost the county anything and thus far the sheriff has paid for all related expenses from his Asset Forfeiture Funds which fittingly enough are primarily confiscated from drug dealers. “Once forfeited, that’s what this money is for, to further the enforcement of laws in our county,” Sheriff Soward explained. The sheriff stated he and his staff wrote a policy on the use of the dog that his employees must follow. The sheriff stated the K-9 will be under the command of his Criminal Investigation Division and will be assigned the Narcotics Unit when in use.