Audrain County Sheriff Matt Oller, along with Maj. James Shrader and Cpl. Derek Chism, traveled to the Shallow Creek Kennels this week in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania, to pick up a K9 officer. The trip has been planned for the past several months. In March the Sheriff’s Office, with tireless work by Cpl. Chism, began the planning of a pilot for a K9 program, and Monday was the day the K9 was selected. According to a press release from Sheriff Oller, Cpl. Chism is the handler for the new K9 named Chal.

Chal is a 14-month old-German Shepherd born in the Czech Republic. Oller said he is sure Chal will make a great asset to the citizens in Audrain County.

Chism and Chal will be trained in tracking, narcotic detection and apprehension. In mid-January, the pair will start their certification training at the Boone County Sheriff’s Office K9 Training Center, and are expected to be road ready in early March, 2018.

At the time of his entry into the United States, the K9’s name was Evans, but it’s somewhat common to rename police K9s. Sheriff Oller said they decided to rename the dog Chal to honor Audrain County Sheriff Chalmus Blum, who was killed in the line of duty in 1924 in Mexico. The decision was made after speaking with a family member of Sheriff Blum’s who still lives in the area, who felt the gesture would be an appropriate honor.

The Audrain County Sheriff’s Office is not new to having a K9 Program, this being the third in the past 40 years. The last K9 at the sheriff's office was roughly 15 years ago. Sheriff Oller stated a K9 Program is a big responsibility and a long-term investment, and not one that he jumped into blindly. "After some consideration and being observant of the number the times we could have used a K9, in August, I opted to go out a limb and revive the program. It took this long to make final preparations. I have made it no secret that I believe in pro-active drug enforcement, as I’ve found in my career that drugs can somehow be directly related to many other crimes, Oller stated in the release.