Sheriff's Office newest K-9 enforcement

  • Cpl. Michael Vice and Dexter form the sheriff’s office’s newest K-9 unit.
    Cpl. Michael Vice and Dexter form the sheriff’s office’s newest K-9 unit.

    Cpl. Michael Vice did not anticipate he would become a K-9 handler after starting as a jailer with the Stephens County Sheriff's Office in late 2018.
    Vice is the handler of the sheriff's office newest K-9 officer, Dexter, a Dutch Shepherd.
    Vice is no stranger to law enforcement, having served with the U.S. Army as a military police officers.
    Vice said that after working some 12 months as a jailer at Stephens County Jail, he applied for road patrol duty. He underwent the process of taking a written exam, a physical assessment and writing an essay to earn the new duty assignment.
    "Once I got through the [police] academy, I just worked hard," he said.
    Vice said he thought that kind of work ethic earned him some recognition.
    "A (handler) spot came open. They asked me if I wanted it and I said, 'yeah,'" Vice said.
    He spent a month training in Gainesville with Dexter — who's been with the sheriff's office since the beginning of the year.
    The two trained in locating methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and cocaine.
    "We're also involved in tracking," Vice said. "He's (Dexter) also able to pick up an article (scent). Anything they drop on the way, he'll be able to pick them up."
    Vice said Dexter is also certified in obedience.
    The crime fighting duo  has officially been on the job with the sheriff's office since June 24, Vice said.
    "We've only been on the road together since last Monday," Vice said.
    But in just more than a week of active service, Vice and Dexter have already assisted in two drug cases.
    On Sunday, Aug. 2, Vice said he and Dexter tracked a missing juvenile.
    "We tracked (the juvenile) all the way to Henderson Falls Park," Vice said.
    Vice said the juvenile had sat in the water, backtracked, and was later found by searchers alongside a road.
    Vice is a 2015 graduate of Habersham Central High School.
    He said Dexter recently observed a major milestone as his second birthday was on July 31.
    Dexter joins Bo, a second narcotics dog, at the Stephens County Sheriff's Office.