The Seward County Sheriff’s Office has recently received a host of new animal companions. The Sheriff’s office has entered into a partnership with the Blue River Pet Rescue shelter and also taken on a new K-9, Luc.
Luc (pronounced Luke) has moved to Seward with his handler Sgt. Kevin Beattie after previously working in the New York State Police for the past five years. Beattie served an even longer tenure with the New York State Police beginning in 1990. He spent time as a trooper, then an investigator, before working in the K-9 unit after realizing the office life was not quite the right fit for him.
“I wasn’t built to be inside wearing a suit and tie,” he said.
Beattie bought Luc around Christmas time in 2012 as he was ready to age out his first formerly handled dog. They trained together through January 2014 and then attended K-9 school through March 2014 in Cooperstown, New York. Beattie had also spent time working at the training facility in Cooperstown, where he helped train multiple puppies that eventually went into service.
Luc and Beattie’s move to Seward came to fruition through an old connection. Beattie and Seward County Sheriff Mike Vance had known each other a long time through some drug enforcement programs and other police related items.
“I retired in May last year, unhappily it turned out,” Beattie said. “Mike offered me a chance to come out and keep working and here we are.”
Luc was trained as a dual purpose dog in drug detection and tracking. Luc is also a cadaver dog meaning he can help with tracking in the event of a missing person. Luc joins Igor as the other K-9 on staff in Seward County who is handled by Vance.
The Sheriff’s Office has also joined in an informal partnership with the Blue River Pet Rescue. This recent partnership highlights the office’s priority on being more active in the community and becoming more relatable to those it serves.
“This helps put us out there a little more, and gets the community more familiar and comfortable with us,” Executive Assistant Taylor Slezak said.
The Sheriff’s Office was already involved with the shelter as they work together and with local vets in the event of missing animals, but this partnership aims to build on that. Deputies are invited to take photos with the animals and generally help send the word out and find homes for some of them.
“Having the support of the Sheriff’s Office is a tremendous benefit,” Blue River Pet Rescue Coordinator Karen Winney said.
The partnership helps create unity in communicating the animal control policies and procedures in Seward County. Ultimately, the partnership benefits both parties involved and the community at large that they both serve.
“We want to be around. It’s good to get out from behind the badge sometimes,” Slezak said.