WAYNE COUNTY—The Wayne County Sheriff's Department officially welcomed a new Deputy, Thursday morning, July 18.

WAYNE COUNTY—The Wayne County Sheriff's Department officially welcomed a new Deputy, Thursday morning, July 18.
Having completed training at the end of June, Wayne County's first ever canine officer, Deputy Manfred, and his handler, Deputy Ronald Kominski, swore an oath before the Board of Commissioners to serve the county as a member of the Drug Task Force and a tracker.
Dignified and dutiful, Deputy Manfred sat at attention while Sheriff Mark Steelman read the oath of service to him and Kominski.
Oath-sworn via a paw-print signature, Manfred received his badge from Deputy Kominski's wife, Patricia.
In a separate interview, Kominski explained Manfred's primary duties would be to assist the Drug Task Force in sniffing out narcotics.
Through his training, Deputy Manfred can identify marijuana, cocaine, crack, methamphetamine, heroin, mushrooms and ecstasy, states a press release.
Additionally, “He can locate freshly discarded evidence, anything that still has human scent that in a field or in the weeds,” explained Kominski. “He can track criminals, lost or missing persons. He can do building searches...He also is trained in bite work, so he can do apprehensions with bites on command.”
Deputy Manfred will also leap into the fray to defend his handler.
Active in the county since the start of July, Deputy Manfred has already aided in several narcotics searches, states a press release.
Aside from investigation, apprehension and search and rescue operations, Deputies Kominski and Manfred are also planning to give demonstrations and presentations to schools in the area.
At the ceremony, Steelman stated, “This is an idea we always wanted to make happen. Last fall, Deputy Kominski approached us and said that he would be willing to take on the responsibility for this.”
To make that idea a reality, District Attorney (DA) Patrick Robinson utilized funds seized by the Wayne County Drug Task Force during investigations to pay for the purchase and initial training of Wayne County's first canine unit, roughly $14,000, said Robinson during a separate interview.
“I know for a fact,” Robinson said Thursday, “that the last three or four years, we've had several incidents where drug dealers have had drugs or large sums of money and if we'd have had this canine when we were dealing with them, we would have been able to find that.”
Robinson added Deputy Manfred's assistance is not a solution to drug problems in Wayne County, “...but he's certainly a tool that we will be able to use and I think will be very effective.”
Wayne County Chief Detective Peter Hower, head of the Wayne County Drug Task Force, likewise noted in a separate interview, Deputy Manfred is “...definitely going to be a benefit. It's a tool we have used in the past with the State Police, but...it hasn't always been readily available.
“Since he's within the county, he can respond out faster than the State Police dogs can.”

Meet Manfred

Deputy Manfred is a two-year-and-three-month old German Shepherd from Juessen, Germany.
Initially bred as a show dog, Deputy Manfred was deemed not up to breed standard, and thus could not compete.
“His color is a lot different than other dogs. A lot of police dogs, you won't find the red color in them,” said Kominski, noting this comes from Deputy Manfred's past as an intended show dog.
Kominski acquired Manfred through Ohio-based Von der haus Gill, a certified police K-9 unit trainer, where both he and Deputy Kominski were trained as a pair.
Deputy Manfred was given preliminary obedience and tracking training before receiving the more specialized K-9 service training.
Within the scope of six weeks, he and Deputy Kominski earned three certifications, one the Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy, one through the American Police Canine Association, and one through the National Association of Police Canine Handlers.
“Training was awesome,” said Kominski. “It was pretty intense.”
Through the scope of their career, Deputies Manfred and Kominski will continue to train a few hours every week.
Manfred and Kominski's partnership extends beyond active duty hours in the workday. The furry, four-legged deputy lives with his handler as a new member of the family.

Seeing Manfred in public

While one part of Deputy Manfred's role will include public relations and education, it is important the public remembers he is still an officer on duty and must not be impeded in his work.
Should members of the public see Deputy Manfred while he is on duty, they are advised to not interfere in police matters.
While working, Deputy Manfred will be in uniform with a thick, stiff collar, his badge, and occasionally a tracking harness.
Members of the public are asked not to try to pet Deputy Manfred, call out to him, or otherwise distract him while he is working.
If Deputy Manfred is working a public event, “It's always a good idea to check with the handler to see if you can approach the dog or pet the dog,” said Deputy Kominski. “Whereas, if we're doing a building search or actually doing drug work, it's best to just stay out of the way and not interfere with the dog at all.”
He later added, “It's a crime in itself to attempt to command or thwart a police dog.”

Keeping the pooch on the prowl

Now that Deputy Manfred is a permanent part of the Wayne County Sheriff's Department, Steelman and his deputies are looking to the public to help defray some of his upkeep costs.
The department held a pet first aid and CPR fundraiser earlier this year and continue to host a tee-shirt sale to benefit Manfred.
Those looking to help out can order a short-sleeved or long-sleeved shirt, or a pull-over hooded sweatshirt by dropping by the Sheriff's Office at 925 Court Street in Honesdale or calling at 570-253-2641.