Henrico police K-9 unit applauds as workload increases during pandemic


HENRICO COUNTY, Virginia – Henry Police Chief has honored his current and retired K-9 partners as their number of cases continues to rise during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Henrico Police Chief Eric English applauded the work of the department’s K-9 program in a brief ceremony on Dabbs House Road Tuesday afternoon.

“They are a powerful tool for us in the fight against crime in Henrico County,” English said. “We have made the changes and have been able to adapt to those changes and our K-9s are providing us with invaluable service. “

These changes include the adjustment to new legislation enacted this year in Virginia.

“With the legalization of marijuana, dogs that were previously certified for this scent must be removed, which personally opened the door for me to enter the unit,” said Officer John Brandmaier.

Brandmaier, alongside his partner K9 Officer Creed, helps patrol officers sniff illegal substances like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and ecstasy.

“On the drug side, unfortunately, what goes with drug use comes with crime,” he explained. “A lot of our calls come from officers at a traffic stop and asking a dog to check the car to see if there are drugs inside.”

Officer Garrett Bardenheier and K9 Ghost hunt down suspects charged with serious crimes while specializing in the arrest of violent criminals.

“Myself and my other two counterparts, along with their dogs, have noticed an increase in some crimes that require us to be used a little more, even when I started a year ago,” Bardenheier said. “

In addition to their respective support duties, these handlers and their canine partners assisted the patrollers with 729 service calls and provided 813 hours of support in addition to the increase in service calls taking place in the county in due to COVID-19, according to a press release. Release.

“I have helped a lot on several homicide cases where we try to locate items, from shell cases to guns to discarded cell phones,” recalls Constable Bardenheier. “Really anything that smells like humans on it as well as a suspect who may have escaped on foot in the area.”

The unit is currently operating with nine active dogs, including three drug detection dogs, three patrol dogs, two explosive ordnance disposal dogs and a bloodhound.

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