St Mary Parish Sheriff Office’s First Female K9 Handler Meets New German Shepherd Partner Jace

September 7, 2020 Updated: September 7, 2020

On Aug. 21, St. Mary’s Parish Sheriff’s Office hired its first-ever female K9 handler.

Deputy Danielle Wilson graduated from the St. Mary’s Parish Training Academy in Louisiana and was hired as the handler for Jace, a 5-year-old German shepherd.

“I want to welcome Deputy Danielle Wilson and K9 Jace as our new K9 team here at the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office,” Sheriff Blaise Smith of St. Mary’s Parish said in a statement. “Our K9 program has been very successful and this is just another welcomed addition to our continuing efforts to serve the citizens of St. Mary Parish.”

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Deputy Danielle Wilson and K9 Officer Jace. (St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office)

According to WAFB-9, Sheriff Smith has been working to expand the office’s K9 section since he took over as sheriff, and is excited about this newest addition to the team.

Wilson has extensive police-related experience. She started out as a dispatcher and first came to St. Mary’s Parish with four years’ experience in communications. After being promoted to patrol deputy, she completed her training as a K9 handler.

Meanwhile, her partner Jace is already trained in narcotics detection through the National Narcotics Detection Dog Association (NNDDA), and soon he will also be certified as a dual-purpose K9 officer, expanding his range of abilities as a police dog.

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Sheriff Blaise Smith, Deputy Danielle Wilson, and K9 Jace. (St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office)

Dual-purpose K9 officers have specialized training in detecting explosives, pursuit and apprehension, and controlled aggression.

“When everybody’s given up all hope of finding a person who committed a crime or a missing person, the dog is able to put it all together,” Riverhead Police K9 handler John Morris told Police1 of the support these dogs provide.

Meanwhile, such K9s offer additional protection to their human counterparts in dangerous situations.

According to Police1, K9 officers are more likely to be shot on the job than other officers, because the nature of their work brings them into dangerous areas more frequently.

That is one of the duties K9 Officer Jace will offer his new partner Deputy Wilson in what could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

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