Harris County Sheriff unleashes its latest weapon

By Laura Ann Sills - email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Harris County Sheriff's Office makes a new hire that makes history.  And, even though the new employee just wrapped up her first official day on the job, she has already made a huge difference in bringing down drug activity in the county.

Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley admits he was hesitant to let a K-9 on staff, "I know it is time consuming for my staff and it can also be a financial endeavor for the county."

So, he gave Cierra, a German Sheppard, and her human partner a trial period; 90 days to prove she had what it takes.

The Deputy that got and trained Cierra did it all on his own time. He tells News Leader Nine that it has always been a dream of his to be a part of a K-9 unit.  He credits Sgt. Mike Rolfe from the Cobb County Campus Police for helping during Cierra's training.  Pine Mountain Police, Tim's K-9 in Phenix City, and Harris County deputies also helped.

The Sheriff's biggest fear, that the dog would distract the human deputies from non-drug related cases.  "I feared that we would get a K-9 unit that works drugs and focus strictly on that and something else in the county would suffer. I did not want the burglary watch and regular calls and responses to suffer."

But, the Sheriff says the opposite has happened.  The dog and his partner respond to all types of calls.  During the trial period, Cierra was deployed 64 times, leading to 56 drug arrests.

Most notably, Cierra worked a regular traffic stop that ended in the seizure of $50,000 in drug money. She also assisted when deputies served a warrant that shut down a crack house.

And, that just names a few of the stops that she worked during the trial.

Sheriff Jolley said he learned a good lesson, "It kind of shows me that me being an old dog, I can learn something new also."

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