Zeus is a two-and-a-half-year-old German Sheppard who originally hailed from Slovakia from a distinct “working dog” bloodline. Zeus is well trained in building searches, tracking, handler protection, controlled aggression, as well as article and drug searches. He is a graduate of the Excelsior K9 Training Academy in Florida and took over the duties formerly handled by Rexi, our beloved male Sable German Shepard who came to us through the “K9’s 4 Cops” grant program in 2015. Rexi served in Afghanistan for three years under various capacities before finding his way to us for three more years of service before retiring in 2018.
Duke is a four-year-old Bloodhound named after our very own Gloucester Dukes. Donated to our office in 2017 at the age of twelve weeks, Duke later completed the American Society of Canine Trainer’s course in specific scent tracking and trailing, and he has proven to be exceptional in his work. Duke has closed many cases in his time with us: this past year alone he has tracked down multiple missing persons, criminal suspects, and serves as a goodwill ambassador, representing the office at various community events and gatherings.
Both dogs receive continuous instruction - some sort of training nearly every day is the norm. Both Zeus and Duke test annually in their respective disciplines to maintain their certifications. Their handler, Master Deputy Phil Lutz, is an American Society of Canine Trainers (ASCT) certified trainer and one of only two of such officers in the Tidewater area. He has been with our modern K-9 program since the start and is a driving force in it’s success.
The use of canines in law enforcement has a long history, dating back to the 1800s, and the services they have supplied have been varied and noteworthy. With their commanding presence, highly tuned senses, and willingness to learn, police dogs have found themselves trained for patrol work, search and rescue situations, arson investigations, suspect apprehension, and much more. The use of dogs in police work increased in the United States since the 1970's, and their presence can be seen at the federal, state, and local law enforcement levels. Demand for their services has only increased in the modern era of public safety. Throughout this time, popular police dog breeds have included:
- Belgian Malinois
- Doberman Pinschers
- Dutch Shepherds
- Labrador Retrievers
- Basset Hounds
- German Shepherds
In 2020, Deputy Zeus was one of many working dogs across the nation who received a ballistic and stab resistant vest from the non-profit group Vested Interest in K9’s, Inc. Based out of East Taunton, Massachusetts, the charity’s mission is to help protect the dogs that serve in communities across the United States. We are very thankful and grateful for their gift of protection for one of our favorite furry deputies.
For further information about Deputies Zeus, Duke, or our K-9 program please email Sergeant Brad Simmons.