Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office adds K-9 unit

LISBON – Columbiana County Sheriff Ray Stone is adding two new deputies this week, but only one has two legs.

Stone said he will officially deputize Jesy, the German shepherd police dog acquired by the sheriff’s office in September for $13,000. Jesy and Lt. Allan Young, the deputy assigned as her handler, have been undergoing training since then.

Jesy has recently received her state and national certifications and will be sworn in during a ceremony to be held at Wednesday’s meeting of county commissioners. Stone expects her to be officially on the job after that.

The new two-legged deputy will be Caleb Wycoff of Lisbon, who is to be sworn in Monday. Wycoff, who currently works as a security officer at the county courthouse, is a graduate of the Ohio Police Officer Training Academy and also attended the Ohio Highway Patrol Academy before having to drop out after injuring his ankle. He has also served as a reserve deputy.

Stone said Wycoff’s hiring is partially in response to acquiring Jesy and naming Young as her handler. Young served as administrative deputy, in charge of scheduling deputies for patrol and transporting prisoners, among other other duties.

Deputy Kip Dowling, who served as the jail administrative officer, replaced Young, and Deputy Trish Quinn was taken from the road patrol to replace Dowling. Stone said this created a vacancy on the road patrol that will be filled by Wycoff.

Although Young will continue to perform some administrative duties, Stone said his primary focus is Jesy, whose chief function is drug detection. She will accompany Young on drug searches in schools and at the county jail, as well as on raids with the county Drug Task Force (DTF).

“He’s going to be tied up with the dog more … That’s what these dogs are for, mostly drugs,” Stone said, adding that the number of drug-related search warrants being served by the DTF has increased significantly with the additional manpower made possible this year with extra funding from commissioners.

Stone said he is able to afford to bring Wycoff on board because of the 2 percent increase in his budget provided by commissioners, plus savings realized from improved efficiency.

Wycoff’s hiring will bring to 19 the number of sheriff’s deputies and detectives on staff, besides Stone and Chief Deputy Allen Haueter. Stone anticipates adding another deputy in 2014.