Dagger reports for duty

The black German Shepherd officer will replace 13-year-old Unix, who is retiring from the Red Bay Police Department.

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Red Bay Police Officer Chad Holcomb and new K-9 officer Dagger. (News photo/Jason Collum)

RED BAY | The newest member of the Red Bay Police Department Force is not quite yet five years old, but he’s full of energy and ready to assist as needed.

Dagger, a black German Shepherd, joined the Red Bay Police Department recently, and will take the place of Unix, the department’s 13-year-old K9 officer, who is retiring.

Officer Chad Holcombe will be Dagger’s handler and partner, and trained for several weeks with Dagger at a facility in Tupelo in preparation for his work here. This is the first time Holcombe has worked with a K9 officer.

“I’ve always liked dogs and we needed one,” Holcombe said. “Unix was retiring and they asked me if I wanted to do it (take over K9 duties).”

Dagger, who is 4 years and 8 months old, hails from Hungary, and he’s full of energy. His solid black color stands out as most people are familiar with German Shepherds having a brown and black coat.

Dagger was the second dog Holcombe trained with. The first dogs he trained with a few months back proved to not be the right match, but with Dagger, Holcombe said he formed a strong bond quickly. The training took about two months.

“I got to bring him home and play around with him we bonded really well,” he said.

Dagger is trained in narcotics detection apprehension and tracking. He still has a few things to learn, though.

“Obedience is a challenge,” Holcombe said. “Like ‘Stay;’ we’re still working on that.”