DEFUNIAK SPRINGS — A new K9 has joined the Walton County Sheriff’s Office and wasted no time making an impact on drug enforcement.
K9 Jester, a Netherlands born 1-year-old Belgian Malinois, recently joined the revamped K9 Unit at WCSO.
Walton County Sheriff’s Office made the decision in October to pursue certification through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, an 18-week endeavor.
The move narrowed down the team from six K9s to three; with Drago and Kayne remaining.
K9 Ella, who was with WCSO for 11 years, retired and was approved to live at home with her previous handler. Ella passed away in December.
The three-dog team is led by Sergeant Kristin Pond, who has worked with K9s for more than a decade, along with Deputy Steven Tector.
K9 Jester was picked up from Police Service Dogs out of Oxford, Florida, before getting certified for drug detection and apprehension with the help of his handler, Deputy Damon Byrd.
“His first week out on the road, he made two felony narcotics cases," said Byrd. “I couldn’t ask for a better dog.”