We want to help make the best dogs that we can.Cpl. Mark Guarino, member of the Georgia Police K9 Foundation and the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office K9 Unit
RINCON — Dogs aren't always a man's best friend, especially if the man in question is a criminal.
Police dogs are valuable tools in crime-fighting efforts and the Georgia Police K9 Foundation, formed in Statesboro in 2016, works to ensure that the public is aware of their contributions.
"For most of us, K9 work is a passion," said Cpl. Mark Guarino, a member of the foundation and the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office K9 Unit. "We are with these animals more than we are our wives and families a lot of times. I spend every day with my dog (Gizmo) unless I am on vacation — whether I'm at home letting him out or leaving for work.
"We want to help make the best dogs that we can."
The foundation, the idea of Advanced Patrol Officer Kyle Briley of the Statesboro Police Department, has expanded on its original purpose to care for retired K9s.
Guarino said, "It's pretty pricey and most agencies have a small K9 budget, so we'll step in when we get requests and present them to the (foundation) board — whether its classes, certification, equipment used in training like bite suits, kennels, food or what have you."
Foundation members leads proficiency training sessions each Tuesday at the W.W. Mann Retreat Center in Statesboro. The Rincon Police Department K9 Unit puts it officers and dogs through their paces there.
"We try to give a well-rounded scope of things to make the dogs better and make (handlers) better," Guarino said. "It's hard a hard job but a very rewarding one."
See the Sept. 19 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.