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A CUT ABOVE: K-9 Unit's Razor, agency cooperation lead to recovery of abducted child
Officer Mitchell Adderton and Razor of the Rincon Police Department K-9 Unit - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
We were grateful that the county called us and the county reciprocates in ways that are just as important.
Mark Gerbino, Rincon police chief
Rincon Police Chief Mark Gerbino - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

 RINCON — Neighboring law enforcement agencies don't always work hand in hand. They do in Effingham County, though, and sometimes they even work hand in paw.

On Nov. 24, the Rincon Police Department assisted the Effingham County Sheriff's Office in the successful resolution of a domestic disturbance. Razor, a two-year-old German Shepherd in the Rincon Police Department's K-9 Unit, was called into action after a father grabbed his young child from a family gathering and ran into nearby woods.

"We were grateful that the county called us and the county reciprocates in ways that are just as important," Rincon Police Chief Mark Gerbino said. "We feel good that we are able to contribute in a positive way with the county to recover a baby that was in custody of a very emotionally charged father. Obviously, it's not a stable situation when you run into the woods with a baby — and in that weather."

"It was cold and rainy, and the child was not properly dressed to be outside," said Rincon Police Department Public Information Officer Robert Lipovsky. "We set up a perimeter while the county was dealing with the other residents inside the house."

Handled by Officer Mitchell Adderton, Razor tracked the suspect, finding him and the child quickly. The dog picked up the man's scent where he had last been seen.

Sgt. Daniel Thompson and Officer Daniel Nicholson set up a perimeter to aid the tracking process.

"K-9 Razor found the suspect and there were no issues," Adderton said. "The suspect was handed over to Officer Nicholson, who took him back and detained him. He turned him over to the county."

Razor didn't need to sniff any of the suspect's belongings before tracking him.

"We used what is called a hot track," Adderton said.

Adderton learned of the situation on the edge of his department's jurisdiction while monitoring his radio. He said it was Razor's first field application of tracking in a couple of months because he has been receiving training in narcotics detection.

"Tracking is a great thing in itself," Adderton said. "My dog excels at (picking up the scent of drugs or people). It's amazing whether they find drugs in a car or a person."

Police dogs can sense odors at concentrations millions of times lower than a human can smell.

Gerbino, however, was quick to point out that Razor doesn't deserve all the credit for the child's rescue.

"He's part of a two-component team," the chief said. "Without the handler, the dog isn't anything. Who is the dog going to respond to?

"As much as (Adderton) wants to pass off the kudos to Razor, Razor wouldn't be successful without a handler who is able to have a positive relationship with him."

Adderton, who joined the Rincon Police Department in April, said he has "the best job in the world. He became a K-9 handler three months ago.

"I wanted to be in K-9 since before I've been in law enforcement," he said. "It's what I've been wanting to do for years."

Gerbino expects the K-9 Unit's successes and cooperation with other area agences to continue.

"For my future here, I am excited to have that kind of interaction," he said. "It is a blessing."