University of North Georgia's police force now has a furry recruit as they recently brought on the first member of their new K-9 unit, Rex.
Rex is a 2-year-old German Shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix, and his partner, Officer Dustin Singleton, has described him as “sweet” and said he “loves everyone and wants to work all the time.”
UNG partnered with the Georgia Emergency Management Association to bring the K-9 officer on board and train him alongside the Hall County Sheriff’s Office’s K-9 unit at no cost to the university, according to a press release.
During his first week on the job, Rex spent his time meeting students and getting used to life on a college campus before getting started on his training.
Singleton said Rex will first learn how to sniff out explosive devices so that he can search spaces such as the UNG Convocation Center and Mercedes-Benz Stadium before events and concerts to ensure it’s safe for students and the community.
"We wanted to have a dog that would be friendly around students,” Singleton said. “That's the top priority. Also, every commencement we pay for someone to come in and do a bomb search of the Convocation Center. Instead of having to call people, we now have our own team, which makes it easier. We're getting to be the same size as larger units, so we want to make sure we're keeping up."
Rex has already started his training with Singleton, going out to Jekyll Island to search for bombs on boats and the Georgia Capitol to sniff out anything suspicious in the Governor’s Office.
Going forward, he will continue to train alongside Singleton and the Hall County Sheriff’s Office to earn further certifications in the future.
Singleton said Rex has done an excellent job so far and is already quickly moving up the career ladder.
“He’s a sergeant,” Singleton said. “He outranks me.”