For Deputy Daniel Acosta, becoming the Colfax County Sheriff’s Office’s first K-9 manager is a dream come true. Mars, a 2-year-old Belgian malinois, recently joined the department’s staff.
Acosta received Mars on February 7, the first day of training in Arkansas. They spent two weeks training before returning to Colfax County. Mars will be a dual-purpose K-9, certified for both narcotics detection and patrol. New partners will go through the state accreditation process from around late March to mid-July, Acosta noted.
“He’s going to be a great asset not only to us, but to surrounding organizations,” Acosta said. “He will be able to detect narcotics in vehicles and buildings, he will be certified in patrol and in apprehension.”
Mars, which will be trained in human scents, will be able to track individuals. He will also be certified in article detection.
“Theoretically, if someone is fleeing from law enforcement and drops an item like a gun or any kind of evidence, they could also go out into the field and find it,” Acosta said. “He has a lot of traits and we are very excited and looking forward to using the traits he will be trained on. He will be a good partner.
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Acosta has been a law enforcement officer for four years. He worked in the Platte County Sheriff’s Office for a year and joined the Colfax County Sheriff’s Office in 2020.
Mars lives with Acosta in his house. Acosta said Mars knows when it’s time to work when Acosta puts on his vest and puts on Mars’ collar.
“He’s a very obedient and very calm dog,” Acosta said. “He’s pretty much an outdoor dog for the most part. He loves to walk around and smell and just be outside and be able to roam freely and play.
The sheriff’s office has been raising funds to establish a K-9 unit for at least a year.
Sheriff Shawn Messerlie noted that more than $30,000 has been raised for the K-9 fund. He added that it was thanks to the support of the community that his department was able to receive its first K-9.
“We continue to receive donations, but appreciate where we are right now,” Messerlie said. “We’re thrilled to have our first canine unit and just be able to put it out in the community to do a great job.”
Acosta expressed similar comments.
“Sheriff Messerlie gave me the task and the opportunity to start the dog fund so that we could buy Mars and buy equipment from him as well. So the dog fund is active,” Acosta said. “Obviously we We’ve used it to buy Mars and buy the gear he needs, but we’re still looking for donations so we can get more goodies for them, as well as supplies and gear.
“This could not have been done without the Colfax County community, our sponsors, our donors, the Sheriff’s Office and intermediary agencies.”
Acosta noted his excitement to begin the next chapter of his work.
“I am very grateful for this opportunity. It’s my dream career, so I’m ready to get to work,” he said.
Hannah Schrodt is the editor of the Schuyler Sun. Contact her by email at [email protected]