Office of the Sheriff
The K-9 team of the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office provides missing person tracking, building search, narcotics search, and suspect apprehension options for incidents within the county of Kalamazoo.
The team currently has one K-9 - Cruze - and hopes to add additional canines and handlers as additional funding is established. Cruze is teamed with Deputy Smelker.
K-9 Cruze was brought into the KCSO team in August 2019 and partnered with his current handler in 2022. Cruze is trained in multiple areas including tracking and narcotics detection. Cruze enjoys tracking the most. Cruze is the youngest member of the team and hopes to serve the citizens of Kalamazoo County for many years to come.
Cruze is partnered with Deputy Smelker.
Becoming a canine handler is a huge, ongoing commitment for the deputies. Both deputies and dogs must first go through a K-9 academy. In the academy, the deputies become accustomed to their new partners and learn to read their body language. The dogs have already received their initial training by this time, but they must learn to work with their new handlers and receive deeper training in each discipline.
Following graduation, the K-9 deputies’ partners become part of the family, and require continual, ongoing training both at home and work. The deputies are partnered for the working life of the dog, typically six to nine years, unless the dog is disabled in the line of duty. At the end of their career, KCSO’s K-9s are given to their handlers to begin a well-earned retirement.