FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — Forsyth County sheriff’s deputies have added GPS trackers to their K-9s to better serve and protect those in their community.
The GPS trackers have been added to each of the six K-9s within the sheriff’s office.
The trackers are activated when K-9s are dispatched to help law enforcement in a tracking operation.
The most commons ones involve a suspect or suspects running from law enforcement, and an individual who has been reported missing.
When K-9s are brought to a scene their trackers are activated.
As they track the individual, the GPS sends back data to the Forsyth County commander center. That data will give a real-time location on a map of where the K-9 is searching, and where they have searched.
“Overall it increases the safety of everyone involved,” Deputy Greg King said.
He and his K-9 Vander are one of the six teams with the trackers.
“It’s constantly updated, it’s constantly live feeding and everything else,” he said.
The devices were added after a months-long push by the sheriff’s office to acquire new technology to help them in the field.
The $823 investment has already begun to pay off in the eyes of the deputies.
King had to use the tracker during a pursuit in mid-May.
“We were right there on top of it, and we would confirm, ‘Yes we are right here’ … speed the process up, it did. In terms of relaying important information, for those units that have set up a perimeter, they’re able to see where we’re moving,” he said.
Not only does it help show deputies where they have and have not gone, but it also allows those in the command center to warn of landmarks and obstacles deputies are close to.
“The layout of the land, and tell them what they’re tracking to if there’s a creek coming up,” explained Ashley Conrad, the communication manager for the office.
Deputies stress this will make it safer on those they are tracking as well. Whether it’d be suspects on the run, or missing persons.
Deputy King explained tracking is “The hardest thing to do. Without the GPS before is, ‘okay, I’m in the woods – how do I describe where I am to these people over the radio? … We can get immediate help if needed … the suspect, or if we find a missing persons and they have some type of injury.”