K9 Jolly already paying dividends for RSPD

The Russell Springs Police Department has a new member. This one looks a little different than the others though.

Meet K9 Jolly.

K9 Jolly is the newest member of the Russell Springs Police Department. Her handler is RSPD Officer Hayden Phillips.

Jolly is a nearly two-year-old Malinois who is handled by Russell Springs Police Officer Hayden Phillips.

Phillips said before he even began a career in law enforcement, he was interested in becoming a K9 handler.

“I knew for a long time this was what I wanted to do,” Phillips said. “When I got out of the academy, I talked to the K9 handlers (with the Glasgow Police Dept. where Phillips worked previously) and there wasn’t really a possibility for me to have one there, but when I came here and talked to Tim about it and expressed interest, that kind of got the process going.”

Whenever Russell Springs Police Chief Tim Pierce took over the job earlier this year, Phillips approached him about purchasing a K9 for the department.

“It was kind of a shot in the dark when we started,” Phillips admitted. “Tim had taken over and I brought it to his attention that I wanted a dog early on when he came in. Of course, he wanted to take a few weeks and get settled and told me we’d talk about it.”

About a month after Pierce took over the department, Phillips and Pierce sat down for a conversation, along with RSPD Assistant Chief Bryan Shepherd.

“Both of them were K9 handlers in the past, so we just had a conversation about what it takes to do this and explained that it would be a lot of work and the basics,” Phillips said. “I still wanted to do it after that conversation, so we began looking.”

So the research began, and the department came across Southern Coast K9 in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The organization provides K9 detection services worldwide and several law enforcement agencies in Kentucky recommended the organization as RSPD began its research.

Phillips hopped on a flight to the Sunshine State, excited to interact with the dogs and meet his future police partner.

“We worked several dogs that day,” Phillips said. “I didn’t have a dog picked out, so we worked with several while down there.”

That’s where he met Jolly, who had been shipped from overseas to Florida, and the dog was delivered to his house.

Up next was the fun part: bonding between Phillips and Jolly.

The bonding time lasts 3-4 weeks, where the dog becomes familiar with the owner and vice versa, and developing a comfort level and familiarity with its surroundings.

“We played a lot of ball during that time,” Phillips said.

Phillips also went through a class with Martin Wesley, an experienced law enforcement officer who specializes in K9 handler training.

Jolly is a certified drug dog in both Kentucky and Florida, and is certified in five different drugs, Phillips explained. That includes marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and ecstasy.

And she’s already paying dividends for the department.

Jolly has been utilized in a traffic stop already that led to a search of a vehicle that discovered narcotics and cash, Phillips said.

Jolly can be utilized in traffic stops and building searches, Phillips said. She’s a drug dog, and not an apprehension dog, a key distinction.

Another interesting note about the newest member of the police department: she comes at no cost to city taxpayers.

Russell Springs Police Chief Tim Pierce said that funds from drug forfeitures were used to purchase the dog.

“We didn’t take it out of taxpayer dollars, and that was a big thing for Chief Pierce,” Phillips said. “He wanted to find a way to pay for it that was efficient for the community and for the police department.”

It’s been a significant change for Phillips, but he’s excited for the future.

“So far, it’s been great,” Phillips said. “I’m enjoying it and she’s turned out to be a really good dog.”


About Zac Oakes 2846 Articles
Zac Oakes is the News and Sports Director for LakerCountry.com and Laker Country WJRS 104.9 FM.