BEAUFORT, S.C. (Aug. 3, 2023) – The Beaufort Police Department would like to introduce its two newest officers to the public: Officer K-9 Supra and Officer K-9 Jampi!
The Belgian Malinois, one-and-a-half years old, are trained in tracking and searches, apprehension, and detection. “These officers are a huge benefit to the citizens and community because of what they are able to do,” said Police Chief Dale McDorman, who himself is a former K-9 handler and was the first officer in the Beaufort PD to train and patrol with a K-9 partner.
Officers Jampi and Supra have completed a 12-week intensive training course, the last six spent with their handlers and partners, Sgt. Mikhail Kopylov and Officer Sterling Wiren, at Shallow Creek Kennels in Sharpsville, Pa.
“The officers will be doing searches for missing persons, they will track criminals, they will locate property and evidence, they will be used in drug searches, and they are crime deterrents as well,” McDorman said. “Historically, we’ve had to wait for another agency to lend us a K-9 when we needed one. This will give the department two K-9s who can work on our schedule.”
To find the best partners for the K-9s, the department interviewed internal candidates, made home inspections, and also had to ensure that Wiren and Kopylov could meet the physically demanding nature of partnering with K-9s. “We have to make sure the officer is fit enough to do K-9 duties,” Chief McDorman said. “Running a track behind a dog is not an easy thing to do.” In fact, one of the officers lost 20 pounds during the six-week training classes. Of course, the partners have to get along: the K-9s are with their partners day in and day out. They go home with their handler at night, and must become part of their partner’s household and family.
The patrol cars for Officers Supra and Jampi are specially fitted with containers in the back for the dogs, temperature monitoring and alarms, Chief McDorman said. And a water bowl, of course. “But the handlers don’t leave the K-9s in their cars,” McDorman said. “Eventually you will see the K-9s out on patrol with their officers.”
Sgt. Kopylov and Officer Wiren will train Jampi and Supra weekly, the chief said. “They will have refresher training in every discipline that they are trained in,” he said.
Additionally, as part of an agreement with the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, the K-9 officers may assist other law enforcement agencies within the county as needed. The Sheriff’s Office and Town of Bluffton Police Department also have K-9s, and the departments will help each other when called upon, the chief said.
“We are excited to welcome K-9 Officers Jampi and Supra,” said City Manager Scott Marshall. “They will expand our internal capabilities and serve as a force multiplier through our intergovernmental agreement with other local law enforcement agencies. We look forward to introducing these new officers to the public after they’ve had adequate time to orient themselves to their surroundings here in Beaufort.”
“It’s a lot of work to be handler. It’s a commitment,” Chief McDorman added. “But you will never have a better partner than a K-9.”
(Photos: Sgt. Kopylov and Officer Jampi, top; Officer Wiren and Officer Supra, bottom.)