Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct the name of Grayson County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Deputy Ryan Miller.
The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office showed off its second and newest K-9 unit Friday with a demonstration of the dog’s narcotics search skills.
Prega, a 15-month-old Belgian Malinois and Dutch Shepherd mix was purchased through a private $15,000 donation to the GCSO. The dog was trained and sold by Pacesetter K-9, LLC of Liberty Hill and is being partnered with Patrol Deputy Ryan Miller, who will work with, live with and care for the agency’s newest officer.
“What I’ve been able to see of Prega so far, he’s very young and very eager,” GCSO Lt. Martin Hall said. “He has a good drive so I believe that’s going to promise us a lot of good things in the future, especially as he matures.”
The Grayson County Sheriff’s Office already has one K-9 unit named Thor, who is able to search for drugs. Hall said Prega has been trained to detect the same substances, but has also been taught more.
“One of the things that Prega brings to the table is his multi-purpose,” Hall said. “He’ll do narcotics, tracking and also train for handler protection. These are going to be things that add one more tool to the tool box that we already have.”
A sale agreement provided by the GCSO to the Grayson County Commissioners Court earlier this year detailed the dog’s skill set.
“This training will include on and off leash obedience, attack, bite, hold, out, reattack, stay/watch, stand off building search, felony search, attack under gunfire, article search and tracking; detection of marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and MDMA,” the agreement said.
Deputy Miller said Prega actually picked him to be his handler and the two trained together for three weeks at Pacesetter’s facility.
“It’s actually what kind of drove me toward law enforcement as a kid,” Miller said. “Whenever I saw an officer come in with a dog, that was it. The love for dogs and the love for the job, it’s just a perfect combination.”
The deputy and his K-9 will undergo annual training and certification in order to remain on active duty. Miller said he and Prega have already been together for one month and they will be at each others’ side both on and off the clock.
The Sheriff’s Office held a demonstration of Prega’s detection skills by hiding a sample of marijuana under one of several identical boxes. The K-9 was led past all the boxes first, before Miller gave the command to find the narcotics. Upon finding the sample, Prega was rewarded with a toy and placed in a patrol unit — where Miller said the two spend most of their time.
“Him and I are riding around in the car, every shift, all shift,” Miller said.
With weeks of training completed and a month spent together, Miller said he and Prega had developed a bond and that it would only get stronger as time passed. And Miller added that he didn’t at all see himself as Prega’s handler, but rather as his peer.
“We’re partners, definitely,” Miller said.