Drug-sniffing dog joins sheriff’s office

Alisa Boswell

The newest deputy at the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office is going to help keep drugs off the county streets and highways, according to Chief Deputy Malin Parker.

Fram, a black Labrador retriever, just returned from two weeks of training in Spring Branch, Texas, with his new handler, Deputy Sonny Wilcox.

Wilcox said he and his canine companion went through on-site training, in which they searched for narcotics planted on specific sites, and off-site training.

“Everybody picks their own dog and you have to be certified with that dog,” Wilcox said. “It was a wild time but it was a good experience.”

Wilcox said the dog’s training is based off a toy with a ball attached to a rope and the dog receives the toy only when he does what he is supposed to do.

“Their whole drive is that tiny ball,” Wilcox said. “Everything I tell him to do, he does and it’s all because of that little ball ‘cause he knows he gets it if he does it right.”

Wilcox said the dog has already helped make three narcotics arrests in his first week.

Parker said the county sheriff’s office has been in need of a narcotics canine since they retired their last canine deputy about eight months ago.

He said U.S. 70, which runs through Roosevelt County, also runs through counties which are High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA).

“We’re a HIDTA bordering county, so it makes it likely that drugs can come through here,” Parker said. “It’s a resource (the dog) we haven’t had provided to us in the past and it was very needed.”

Parker said the dog was purchased for the law enforcement office by the district attorney’s office with a government grant.

“At the time, the Roosevelt County office was the only agency in our area that was without a canine, so we offered them assistance to bring an additional resource to the county with the goal of taking down drug traffickers and violent suspects,” District Attorney Matt Chandler said. “It’s a win-win for both law enforcement and the community.”

Parker said the dog will be also be used for narcotic searches outside the county.

“It’s just going to give us an added resource with narcotics detection and apprehending violent persons,” Parker said. “It’s just a great resource to have.”

Wilcox said he went into law enforcement with the intention of being a canine handler.

“I’m really grateful they gave us money to buy him,” Wilcox said. “Hopefully, Fram and I can pay them back ten-fold by taking some drug traffickers off the street.”