Newest Rookie at Sheriff’s Department Can’t Wait To Take Bite Out of Crime


Griff, the newest member of the Union County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina, awaits his assignment and training. Union County Sheriff’s Office photo.

The newest rookie on the Union County Sheriff’s force is only 11 weeks old, but he can’t wait to take a very tiny bite out of some North Carolina crime.

He’s a puppy donated to a deputy’s family by Kaw-Tal German Shepherds. The deputy then gave him to the department, and the sheriff asked the public to name the dog.

After officials tabulated roughly 2,000 votes, he was dubbed “Griff” on Monday, Aug. 15, as a nod to Sgt. Brian Griffin.

“He’s been a bloodhound handler and explosive-detection-canine handler, and now he just kind of works on our procurement side, making sure we have all the equipment we need,” department spokesperson Lt. James Maye told Coffee or Die Magazine.


Union County Sheriff’s Office working dogs Griff, left, and Maverick, right, are two of 14 K9s assigned to the department headquartered in Monroe, North Carolina. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

No one exactly knows what gig Griff will get. He might track scents. He could be assigned to a school resource officer to work around kids. Deputies might also use him to make apprehensions.

“It just really depends on, as his training begins, what he really takes to,” Maye said, adding that the department hopes Griff will be a multipurpose dog, capable of doing several kinds of jobs. “We just have to see how that goes.”

Over the next few months, deputies will bring Griff around school children to see how he behaves. In about a year, trainers will figure out where his path will lead, Maye said.

Griff might even follow in the paw prints of another relatively new K9, Maverick.

The 2-year-old English Labrador retriever has been working among students for months, and now he’s perfecting how to find lost kids.


Maverick, a 2-year-old white English Labrador retriever, takes a break from his school duties to locate a missing kid on Aug. 1, 2022, near Monroe, North Carolina. Union County Sheriff’s Office photo.

On Aug. 1, the pooch was dispatched to find a runaway along Highway 601, a four-lane route. A parent gave deputies the boy’s blanket for Maverick to sniff, and the dog’s handler, Deputy Josh Dye, yelled, “Track!”

Maverick took off. But because it was a busy roadway, two other deputies helped Dye keep an eye on traffic.

“If he’s got a good scent, and he’s got a good trail, he’ll pull fast and hard,” Dye said, describing how Maverick kept up the trot down the highway. “I feel like the dog could tell there was a sense of urgency. Sometimes they’ll stop and investigate trees, bushes, and stuff like that. But his urgency was spot on.”

Maverick turned down a side road, and the missing boy emerged from the nearby woods. The kid went to the dog. The dog bounded to him. Dye said the youngster was a little hesitant to pet Maverick at first, but the K9 was so lovable the two ended up strolling together.

“Any 911 call that comes across, if he’s the closest dog or he’s the most appropriate dog for that situation, then we’re going to put him to use,” Maye said. “He loves it, and we love having him.”

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Noelle is an award-winning journalist from Cincinnati, Ohio, who came to Coffee or Die Magazine following a fellowship from Military Veterans in Journalism. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has strived to be a military journalist ever since her internships with the US Army Cadet Command in college. She worked as a civilian journalist covering several units, including the 75th Ranger Regiment on Fort Benning, before she joined the military herself and served as a public affairs specialist attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. She deployed once to fill a role as a media analyst for the Special Operations Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve in Kuwait. She has a passion for sharing stories of heroes and people who are far more interesting than they think they are. She follows where the job takes her, but currently resides on the East Coast in Georgia.
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