Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol and several members of the Sheriff’s Office were joined by Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente as two new canines were proudly and formally introduced to the community at a Thursday morning press conference held at the Sheriff’s Office.

K9 Bo, a one-year-old German Short Haired Pointer was purchased from Shallow Creek Kennels in Pennsylvania. Officer Merzuk Hozanovic was selected through an interview process to be the handler for Bo and spent six weeks at Shallow Creek Kennels participating in a series of intense training sessions in order to become certified in detecting narcotics in the Correctional Facility. Bo will be responsible for narcotics detection all throughout the Oneida County Jail with focus on the visitation area and incoming mail, both of which are the most common ways illegal drugs enter the facility. Bo will also be available to assist other correctional facilities when and if his services are needed. The purchase of Bo and all of the training costs associated with Bo and his handler came to a total cost of $10,500 and was purchased with surplus funds in the Sheriff’s Office 2019 budget. The transfer was approved by Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente and the Board of Legislators.

K9 Erica, a 2 1/2-year-old German Shepard is a highly trained and certified Explosive Device Detection Dog. Erica previously served overseas with a private military contractor and upon completion of her work, was decommissioned and donated to the Sheriff’s Office at no cost. Deputy Mike Baker was selected through an interview process to be the handler for Erica and will be undertaking continuous training by Sheriff’s Sergeant James Danquer, who supervises the entire Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit and is also a Police K9 Master Trainer. Deputy Baker and K9 Erica will primarily be assigned to the Oneida County Office Building and will be deployed anywhere that explosive device detection services may be needed.

“As we continue to solidify the public safety of Oneida County, I am happy to welcome Bo and Erica to the K-9 complement of the Sheriff’s Office,” said County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “This is the first time we have had a drug sniffing dog assigned full-time to the county jail, and the addition of Bo will help keep illegal substances from getting into the hands of inmates. Having Erica at the County Office Building will ensure the safety of the hundreds of people who visit our Utica facility each day to receive essential services and do business.”

With the addition of these two new dogs, the Sheriff’s Office K9 Units now has a total of five dogs including:

Sgt. James Danquer and K9 Kal - a Dutch Shepard certified in Patrol Duties and Explosive Device Detection

Corporal Jason Osika and K9 Enzo - a new German Shepard that will be certified in Patrol Duties and Narcotics Detection

Deputy John Cusack and K9 Natalie - a Chocolate Lab certified in Patrol Duties, Narcotics Detection, and Community Affairs / Public Relations