- Associated Press - Saturday, October 22, 2016

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - The Duke is in town, but he is not a reincarnation of the Hollywood legend John Wayne.

The latest Adams County Sheriff’s Office deputy has long ears, four legs and a nose that can track fugitives for miles. Mike Turner, manager of the Mississippi Bonding Company’s Natchez office, donated Duke the bloodhound to the sheriff’s office a few weeks ago and the 18-week-old puppy recently started training.

“He is going to be a tremendous asset,” Sheriff Travis Patten said. “That dog will be used for tracking, article searches and search and rescue right now. And that’s not to say we won’t add more to his repertoire since he is picking it up so fast.”

ACSO Deputy Lee Best will be Duke’s handler and Duke’s roommate.

Patten said tracking people would be Duke’s main job.

“It happens quite often that someone will run into the woods,” Patten said. “Take for instance when the suspect robbed the gas station recently - that would have been the perfect scenario for a bloodhound.

“They are known to track a scent for miles. When other dogs get tired or lose the scent, that hound will keep pushing.”

Article searches are when a suspect hides evidence in a large area that makes it difficult for a human’s eyes to search.

“Basically, it is when someone runs in the woods or anywhere and hides evidence,” Patten said. “You associate the dog to that sent and send him in the woods or wherever, and he is going to find it.”

Search and rescue will also be a priority.

“Recently, we’ve had people get lost in the woods,” Patten said. “That’s the kind of thing the dog would be used for.”

Turner said he loves bloodhounds and intended to use Duke to breed more bloodhounds, but after purchasing the puppy Turner said he became concerned something would happen to the dog out in the country. Turner said he wanted the bloodhound to go to a place where Duke would be treated like a “king.” Since he knew the sheriff’s office needed a dog, he said ACSO was the logical choice.

“I know in search and rescues, a dog is the only way some people get found,” Turner said. “I think every sheriff’s office should have one. If the dog saves just one life, it will all be worth it.

“I’m very proud to help out the sheriff’s office.”

Duke, ACSO’s only canine deputy is a double champion, with both mother and father coming from champion bloodlines. A champion has had success in dog shows.

Patten said the sheriff’s office had been looking to purchase a dog, and he said he was grateful for Turner’s gift.

“We appreciate the other agencies in the area for assistance with dogs in the past,” Patten said. “But sometimes we will not get access because the dog is out or the handler is not available.

“It is important for us to have our own dog right there readily available.”

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Information from: The Natchez Democrat, https://www.natchezdemocrat.com/


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