- Last Updated on 07:59 AM 05/14/14
- BY Danielle Vaughn
After two years of tracking and searching for runaway suspects and missing people, Halifax County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Handler Deputy C. A. Bates V said he and his search and rescue dog Sid have formed a pretty strong bond and work very well together.
“We definitely have a bond together because we’re out there tracking. We got to work together. I’m constantly watching him to see what he’s doing, and every once in a while, he looks back at me to see if I’m keeping up with him. I think everyone who works with animals like that you get a bond in return,” Bates said.
He noted that Sid was a sweet and gentle dog but is not really the playful type.
“They’re so bred to tracking, if I were to turn him loose he would just pick up a scent and take off. He’s not like the kind of dog you throw a ball and he brings it back. He’s a very friendly dog, a very loving dog, a very gentle dog. He is a very hardworking dog.”
Bates said Sid is always by his side no matter what.
“ When I go to work, he goes to work,” Bates said.
Bates who has been a deputy of the Halifax County Sheriff’s Officer for five years became a K-9 handler when Sheriff Fred Clark approached him on the matter after being elected to office.
“When Fred was elected, he kind of had a meeting with everybody and kind of interviewed everybody, and he just asked me, ‘would you be interested in this or this or this.’ And everything he asked me, I said ‘yeah I’m interested in doing it.’ One of things was being a K-9 handler. Later on, after he had been in office a little while, he came to me and said, ‘would you still like to be a K-9 handler,’ and I said ‘yeah I’ll do it’ and I started doing it,” Bates said.
That same year he received Sid who he named after his little cousin Sidney and the two underwent 12 weeks of training at the DOC headquarters in Goochland.
Training began in March of 2012 and concluded that June.
“We trained everyday no matter if it was raining, cold or snowing, ” Bates said.
The two must complete a certification track once a year to remain certified, and Bates does his own personal training with Sid one to three times a week.
The two have trained at places such as Edmunds Park, William M. Tuck Airport, the Fairgrounds, South Boston Speedway, the golf course and various other locations.
During training Bates lays down tracks for Sid to pick up, and sometimes he will let them sit for a while so the scent will fade away and make it harder for Sid to pick up the trail so he can be good at tracking old scents also.
One of the most interesting cases Bates said that he and Sid worked together was when Sid tracked a missing 5-year-old autistic girl a mile away from her home.
Another memorable case was when he assisted Sgt. S. M. Bowen who was investigating a man for growing marijuana and possibly making moonshine. The suspect ran off and Bates and Sid were called in to track him. Sid tracked the suspect three miles through the woods and found him in a creek. He deemed this case the most exciting one he and Sid had worked together.
The last time he and Sid were called out was on Sunday to track a suspect from a break in.
Bates said sometimes he is summoned to other jurisdictions such as Pittsylvania, Charlotte and Mecklenburg Counties for Sid’s services. The farthest he has been called out for a job is to Amelia County.
Bates said the he is the only officer that can handle his dog being that has been trained to know what to look for when searching.
“Anybody could take the dog out there, but they’re not going to know what they’re looking for. You have to be certified,” Bates said.
He said Cpl. T. A. Mocarsky, who is also a trained handler, could probably use him in his absence, but it wouldn’t be the same because it isn’t his dog and he doesn’t know him that well.
“He could take my dog but would probably need to spend sometime with Sid because my dog is not the like the dog he used to run. Every dog is different. My dog might read stuff differently than his dog, or he might not be used to something my dog does,” Bates said.
Bates said he doesn’t get paid anything extra for having Sid, and the county provides his food.
While its hard work, Bates said he really enjoys his job as a K-9 handler.
“Being a K-9 handler is hard work. It’s really physical because you’ve got to track. He is always running these ruff terrains and ruff briar patches and stuff like that. It’s very physical, but it’s very rewarding,” he said.