Sheriff’s Department drug pup makes a splash with Rotary

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 12, 2010

Zeus, a black Labrador narcotics and search dog with the Warren County Sheriff’s Department, made the rounds at the local Rotary Club meeting Thursday and sniffed out a bit of contraband.

No charges were filed, however, since Sheriff Martin Pace and Zeus’ two-legged partner, K-9 Deputy Brad Redditt, were staging a demonstration of Zeus’ skills.

Redditt rewarded Zeus for his success with the dog’s favorite tennis ball. Lots of tail wagging ensued.

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“The dog loves Brad,” Sheriff Martin Pace told the civic group. “It’s a perfect bond of man and animal, that’s why this dog will do anything Brad asks him to do.”

Redditt has been with the sheriff’s department for about 15 years and has been paired with Zeus since the dog came on duty in 2007. Zeus lives in Redditt’s home and the two are always together.

As a puppy, Zeus was trained at USK9 Unlimited, an internationally-recognized dog training academy in Kaplan, La., for six months and then was joined by Redditt for a final four weeks of paired training. The dog is nationally certified.

The department has had a K-9 program for years, Pace said, previously with different kinds of dogs, including a bloodhound. The dogs were trained either to sniff out drugs or track humans.

Zeus is trained to do both said, Pace said, which means the department can operate with just one dog.

“It’s all about the money right now with the budget so tight,” Pace said.

But Zeus is so good at his job, he more than pays for himself.

“The arrests that this particular dog has been involved in have brought in about $75,000 in Justice Court and Circuit Court fines,” Pace said.

Zeus initially cost the county about $8,500, Pace said, and his annual food and care come to about $1,200. The cost to train him, about $10,000, was paid by seized drug money.

Zeus is trained to identify various drugs including marijuana, heroin and opium derivatives, cocaine, ecstasy and methamphetamine, “because those are the most commonly used and abused narcotics,” said the sheriff.

Among Zeus’ nabs was one on I-20 last March, when Zeus assisted in the arrest of two Pennsylvania men trying to transport 16 pounds of marijuana from Houston, Texas, back to their college town of York.

Vicksburg police have four K-9s, Ranger, Tongo, X-on and Kargo, that are trained to retrieve evidence, track and hold suspects and detect explosives.

Contact Pamela Hitchins at