Strasburg police welcome new K-9

Strasburg police officer Eric Ramey and his partner Argo, an 18-month old German shepherd, are patrolling the town's streets. Argo is the department's new police dog. Joe Beck/Daily

STRASBURG – The newest member of the Strasburg Police Department is four-legged, furry and highly trained.

He is Argo, an 18-month-old German shepherd who began patrolling about two weeks ago with his handler, officer Eric Ramey.

Argo works regular, fixed shifts but is also on call whenever police need him. He is the department’s first dual purpose dog, trained to sniff out hidden narcotics and search for items.

He hasn’t had any opportunities to participate in a major investigation or arrest, but Ramey is impressed by what he has seen so far.

“He’s been doing great,” Ramey said of Argo.

The Police Department has been waiting for a new dog since Argo’s predecessor retired about a year ago.

The search for a replacement proved to be a worldwide effort. Argo was imported from the Netherlands by a kennel in Pennsylvania specializing in police dogs. Ramey said the kennel sends someone to Europe periodically to test dogs there for what he called prey and hunt drive.

“The European dogs just have a higher drive,” Ramey said in explaining the kennel’s preference for dogs from Europe instead of the United States.

Ramey picked out Argo with the help of someone from a private academy in Culpeper where he and Argo trained together for seven weeks.

Argo lives at Ramey’s home when they are off duty, an arrangement that also requires Ramey to bathe, brush and feed him and maintain the kennel.

Ramey said Argo has quickly adjusted to his new home.

“He’s quickly become part of the family,” Ramey said. “At home, he’ll do anything to get his ball.”

Ramey, a three-year veteran of the force, has eagerly seized the chance to work with a police dog, a yearning that goes back to his youth.

“It’s something I always, I wanted to do even before I was in law enforcement,” Ramey said. “Everybody sees a police dog, and they all want to come up and pet him.

“I think at some point when I was growing up, I maybe saw a police dog at some point and ever since then, it had my interest, and I finally have the opportunity to live it myself now.”

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com