Thanks to the hard work and commitment from a local boy scout, troop canines from the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office are jumping hurdles, climbing stairs and squeezing through low lying areas on their brand new agility course. Devon Rodgers from Boy Scout Troop 258, Howell Township, came up with the idea to build the project. Rodgers hopes this accomplishment will raise his status to scouting’s highest rank and honor, Eagle Scout. “I’m a dog lover, and I knew I wanted to do something for animals, but I also wanted to give back to those in law enforcement who do so much for us,” said 17 year old Rodgers. “That’s why an agility course for canines and their handlers was the perfect project.”
The project took 335 hours to complete with the help of members and leaders of Troop 258, volunteers, and family and friends. The Monmouth County Division of Buildings and Grounds donated the materials to build the project. A total of 16 structures were built which include a cat walk, hurdles, low crawl, A frame, broad jump and boxes. “I commend Devon and his entire troop for their dedication and commitment to such an important project,” said Sheriff Shaun Golden. “Agility training is essential for patrol dogs since it builds confidence and self esteem, and, it also maintains the strong bond between a canine and its handler.”
Troop 258 followed the guidelines of the United States Police Canine Association. The equipment is presently stationed off of Dutch Lane Road at the former Youth Detention Center and will eventually be moved to the Monmouth County Police Academy.
The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office canine teams primarily trained in patrol will utilize the equipment. Canine teams from municipalities in need of training will also be provided with the opportunity.
“I’m hopeful this project that was developed, planned and carried out through leadership, will help me earn my Eagle,” said Devon. “Either way, it was a great experience. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work on such an important project.”
The Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office Canine Unit consists of seven canines and their handlers. The two patrol dog teams include Sheriff’s Officer Joseph Aretino and canine Ari and Sheriff’s Officer Anthony Muscarella and canine Nanook.