A MAN AND HIS DOG
Many people like taking their dog to work, but Jesse English has to.
“I couldn’t imagine coming to work without him,” English said. “I work 12-hour shifts and he’s with me. When I’m at home, he’s with me. He’s accustomed to my wife and kids, and they love him, too.”
English has been the K-9 officer for the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Department for the past 11 years. In that time he has had two detection dogs – a dog trained to use its senses to detect illegal drugs, currency, blood and sometimes contraband electronics such as illicit mobile phones.
English’s first drug dog, a full-blooded German Shepherd named Ytong, died in 2012 after being hit by a car. Almost seven years ago after raising nearly $10,000 through donations from local businesses, organizations and churches, English traveled to Tarheel Canine Training Inc. in Sanford to purchase Oscar, a German Shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix.
“The cost of the dog included his training and gear,” English said. “He came out of training at 18 months old ready to go.”
Oscar is a full-fledged police officer and is treated as such.
“He can go anywhere I can go,” English said. “If Oscar is not invited in, well, I can bring him in any way. He’s got more training than I do. I can’t smell drugs most of the time, but he can.”
Oscar is often used during traffic stops, in schools and sometimes to aid nearby departments.
Oscar never wanders far from English, and although he attributes most of that loyalty to his training, English admits some of Oscar’s behavior transcends what he’s been taught.
“It’s a bond,” English said. “With me is where he wants to be. I keep him on a leash, but he doesn’t need one, I do it so other people don’t feel unnerved by him.”