The Albemarle County Police Department is welcoming a new K-9 to its team.
Cleo is a five-and-a-half-year-old, 49-pound black lab. She was adopted by the agency after serving two tours of duty as a bomb dog in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marine Corp.
Cleo has been training with her handler, Officer William Saulle, to transition into her new role as a police bomb dog. She is already responding to calls in the community and will be working major events.
“One thing we had to work on was the transition from off-leash work, which is mainly what the military did, to working on a leash is primarily what we do, so that took about two weeks, but other than that she was good to go,” Saulle said.
Saulle says a fully trained bomb costs between $8,000 and $10,000. The department paid $5 for Cleo, which was the notary fee for documentation.
Cleo will eventually replace the current bomb dog, Drak, who is easing into retirement.