St. Johns County

K9 Unit

K9 Unit

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit currently has ten K-9 teams. We have three German Shepherds, four Belgian Mailnois, two Bloodhounds and a Golden Retriever. Each team within the K-9 unit completes an annual certification that is mandated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.  Along with detection training, the teams are also trained in human tracking, article and building searches, criminal apprehension and handler protection. The K-9 teams work alongside with the patrol deputies daily, while providing assistance with the needs and requests of the other specialty units within the

The mission of the K-9 unit is to support all law enforcement activity and the community of St. Johns County. This support is a force multiplier which assists in the apprehension of fleeing criminals, warrant searches, building and area searches, search and rescue, pursuits, illegal drug eradication, bomb searches,  along with assisting patrol deputies with in-progress calls for service.  Aside from their law enforcement duties, the K-9 teams visit schools, churches and businesses to give demonstrations of their canine’s abilities and to educate and give the public a better understanding of what the team is utilized for.

K-9 Thor

BREED: German Shepherd

DATE OF BIRTH: February 8, 2017

HANDLER: Deputy Blake Gruny

PROFILE: K-9 Thor was born in Slovakia and is assigned to Road Patrol. K9 Thor is trained in apprehension, tracking, article search, and narcotics detection. K-9 Thor loves playing fetch and digging holes!

FUN FACT: K-9 Thor loves to watch TV.

SAFETY TIP: “Don’t leave your valuables unsupervised. And never walk away with a stranger.”

K-9 Bane

BREED: German Shepherd

DATE OF BIRTH: March 6, 2017

HANDLER: Deputy Rob Neigebauer

PROFILE: K-9 Bane was born in Hungary and is assigned to Road Patrol. K-9 Bane is trained in apprehension, narcotics detection, and tracking. K-9 Bane’s favorite toy is his Kong and could play fetch with it all day long.

FUN FACT: K-9 Bane and his handler Dep. Neigebauer have the same birthday!

SAFETY TIP: “Always be aware of your surroundings and stay alert at all times.”

K-9 Patriot

BREED: Male Labrador Retriever

DATE OF BIRTH: January 28, 2014

HANDLER: Deputy Doug Kowieski

PROFILE: K-9 Patriot is a trained narcotics detection, tracking, and article search K-9 assigned to the Youth Services Unit. He and his handler, Dep. Kowieski, visit schools to conduct demonstrations and random drug sniffs. K-9 Patriot lives at home with Dep. Kowieski and his family. Dep. Kowieski adopted K-9 Patriot at 8 weeks old and began training him as a puppy in 2014. K-9 Patriot’s favorite toy is his tennis ball and he loves playing fetch. K-9 Patriot is social and loves to interact with kids.  

SAFETY TIP: “Make the right choice and stay away from drugs!”

K-9 Drake

BREED: Belgian Malinois

DATE OF BIRTH: October 16, 2009

HANDLER: Deputy Nicholas Converso

PROFILE: K-9 Drake is a full service K-9, specializing in bomb detection, criminal apprehension, handler protection, tracking, building/ area/article searches. Drake loves to go for long runs with his handler and play with his toys when he is off duty, but when it comes to catching bad guys and protecting the citizens of St. Johns County, he means business! He works hard to find dangerous people and makes sure to get them off the streets.  

SAFETY TIP: “If you see something suspicious happening, call the police!”

K-9 Star

BREED: Bloodhound

DATE OF BIRTH: July 16, 2017

HANDLER: Deputy Nicholas Cooper

PROFILE: K-9 Star is a tracking K-9 in training! She will help SJSO Deputies locate missing persons. She also enjoys hanging out at SJSO’s Police Athletic League (PAL) Super Stars events cheering them on.

SAFETY TIP: “Always let a parent or guardian know where you will be when you go outside your home. I’d love to see you again, but not because you’re missing and I have to find you. Stay safe!”

K-9 Maverick

BREED: Belgian Malinois

DATE OF BIRTH: January 21, 2012

(Born in the Netherlands)

HANDLER: Deputy John Floyd

PROFILE: K-9 Maverick is a full service patrol K-9 specializing in narcotics detection, criminal apprehension, handler protection, tracking, building, area and article searches. Maverick is very social and playful off duty, but when it comes to protecting citizens of St. Johns County and fellow law enforcement, he’s all business!  

SAFETY TIP: “If you find a gun, do not touch it. Leave it alone and tell someone. If a friend wants you to touch or hold it, just say NO!”

K-9 Inverness “Invey”

BREED: Bloodhound

DATE OF BIRTH: July 31, 2011

HANDLER: Deputy Melanie Merritt

PROFILE: K-9 Inverness (Invey) is a scent discriminating trailing K-9 that searches for bad guys and the missing. On her time off she loves lounging in the sun and sneaking snacks from the kitchen.  

SAFETY TIP: “Always check your surroundings. Walk with confidence, look around, and stay aware of what is going on around you.”

K-9 Judge

BREED: German Shepherd

DATE OF BIRTH: June 12, 2015

HANDLER: Deputy Scott Wright

PROFILE: K-9 Judge is a single purpose K-9 specializing in explosives detection, tracking and article searches. Judge is always full of energy and loves to play. He also enjoys interacting with people.

SAFETY TIP: “If you see something that doesn’t seem right or seems out of place, say something to a responsible adult or law enforcement. Together, we can keep our community safe.”