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Destro

November 20, 2018 - 12:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in K-9, Destro, Sheriff's Office, news, notify.

The Sheriff's Office may have found a young dog worthy of taking over K-9 patrol for "Destro," who died unexpectedly in early October.

A 2-year-old Belgian malinois from the nation of Holland is being evaluated by Deputy Chris Erion, the Sheriff's Office current K-9 handler, and if the dog proves suitable, the county will pay a $9,500 fee for purchase, shipment and paperwork on the dog.

That's about $1,000 more than anticipated but the cost is also amply covered by donations from members of the community to the Sheriff's K-9 program.

Erion said this morning that he has the dog -- who has a name but the name may change -- and is working with him to see if is temperament is suitable for police work. This morning, he's returning from the K-9 training facility in Canada where he was given a workout.

"We're putting him through his paces," Erion said.

The dog has only basic training at this point and will need to be fully trained in K-9 police work before being put into service. That training will start in March.

The fundraising following Destro's death has been so successful -- and there are more fundraising events planned -- that the Sheriff's Office will acquire a second K-9. Undersheriff Greg Walker said the new, second K-9 handler has already been selected from among current deputies but the Sheriff's Office is not ready yet to announce who the new handler will be.

Even though payment for the new dog is covered by community donations, the money still goes into the county's budget and the expenditure must be approved by the Legislature. The Public Service Committee voted to recommend approval of the $9,500 fee for the new dog from Holland.

At the Public Service meeting yesterday, a member of the Legislature asked why the K-9 money came from public donations rather than the county's general fund and Legislator Gary Maha, the former Sheriff, explained that when the Sheriff's Office first decided to acquire a K-9 the decision was made to ask the community to pay for it.

There have been four dogs purchased since then, each one paid for through donations and that just seems to be the way it's done now. There was nothing preventing the Sheriff's Office from including a new K-9 in its operations budget.

In this case, as soon as the news came out of Destro's death, who succumbed to complications from cancer surgery, community members set up fundraisers and donations started pouring in.

Legislator John Hilchey suggested he and his fellow legislators wouldn't have a problem funding the K-9 program, but "the community didn’t really give us a chance to ask on it."

November 19, 2018 - 2:32pm

The sixth annual Caryville Inn 5K & Turkey Trot will be held on Thanksgiving Day -- Thursday, Nov. 22 -- in memory of K9 "Destro."

Registration begins at 8 a.m., with race starting at 9 at Caryville Inn, located at 25 Main St. in the Village of Oakfield.

Proceeds benefit the Genesee County Sheriff's Office K9 Fund.

Preregistration is $20, with T-shirts available for participants while supplies last.

Register via email:   [email protected]

Or in person at Caryville Inn during normal business hours.

Questions? Call 948-9780.

October 28, 2018 - 9:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Destro, K-9, Sheriff's Office, news, Chris Erion.

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Deputy Chris Erion talks with security staff from Genesee Community College during a community tribute gathering for his late partner, K-9 "Destro," who succumbed unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago from complications from a cancer surgery.

Erion plans to continue as a K-9 handler for the Sheriff's Office and plans are in place for the department to acquire another dog, hopefully by March so Erion and his new partner can begin training.

A number of fundraisers are planned around the community to help defray the costs of acquiring and training a new police dog. We will provide updates as details become available.

Photos submitted of Deputy Erion because I went to the tribute without realizing I didn't have any SD cards in my camera.

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K-9 "Kye" from Medina PD.

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Erion with a Genesee County dispatcher.

October 18, 2018 - 2:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Destro, news, Sheriff's Office, Main St. Pizza Company.

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Vic Marchese, owner of Main St. Pizza Company donated $4,000 this morning to the Sheriff's Office to be used toward the purchase and training of a new K-9.

The department's K-9 "Destro" died unexpectedly two weeks ago and the Sheriff's Office is just beginning a fund-raising campaign for a new dog.

Photo submitted by the Sheriff's Office: From left, Deputy Chris Erion -- Destro's partner, Vic Marchese, Sheriff Bill Sheron, and Undersheriff Greg Walker.

The Sheriff's Office is also planning a tribue to Destro on Wednesday. Press release below:

A tribute to honor Genesee County Sheriff’s Office K-9 “Destro,” who passed away last week after a very short battle with cancer, will be held next Wednesday, Oct. 24, 3 -7 p.m. at the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office, 165 Park Road, Batavia.  The public is welcome to stop by and enjoy refreshments while viewing a slideshow of Destro’s accomplishments. His handler, Deputy Erion, will also be in attendance.

The K-9 program is a valuable asset to the Sheriff’s Office and surrounding law enforcement agencies. The K-9 team is used for search and suspect apprehension, locating missing persons including missing children and Alzheimer's patients, contraband and drug searches, tactical tracking, evidence recovery, building searches, patrol, and public presentations.

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office has been able to maintain a K-9 team for the past 16 years with support and donations from the public along with county funding. Public support and donations are vital to the continuation of this worthwhile program and are used to help offset the cost of food, veterinary services, training, equipment, and other K-9-related expenses.

Deputy Erion will continue to be the K-9 officer and has begun the search for a new K-9. The cost for a police dog ranges between $7,500 - $10,000 and a 15-week K-9 training course costs approximately $5,000.

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office is respectfully requesting your help to raise funds to continue this program, a critical service to the community. Donations can be made payable to and mailed directly to Genesee County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Fund; 165 Park Road, Batavia, New York 14020. A GoFundMe page has also been created, and the link is available from the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.

Please consider making a donation to the K-9 Fund; your support is greatly appreciated.

October 6, 2018 - 10:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Destro, Sheriff's Office, news, notify.

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K-9 "Destro," who joined the Sheriff's Office in 2013, has died after being diagnosed with cancer recently.

Sheriff William Sheron confirmed Destro's passing this morning. He is planning to release a statement later this morning.

Destro's partner was Deputy Chris Erion.

Since joining the force, Destro has been instrumental in helping police capture bad guysfind lost people, and serving as an ambassador for local law enforcement.

Photo: File photo, Destro and Deputy Chris Erion at the Corfu Winterfest in 2014.

UPDATE -- noon: The following press release is from Genesee County Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr.

Sheriff William A. Sheron Jr. announced the untimely death of K-9 “Destro” following a very short battle with cancer. Destro developed heath concerns earlier this past week and passed away yesterday, Friday Oct. 5, 2018 at the Cornell University Companion Hospital with his handler, Deputy Christopher Erion, by his side.

Destro, an 8-year old German Shepherd, joined the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office in August 2013.

Destro will continue his service in death, as his body will be made available to Cornell University Veterinary Students to learn and study from for a brief period of time. His remains will then be returned to his family home in Byron where he will be laid to final rest alongside two other family dogs.

“Destro was a true asset to all law enforcement agencies across Western New York," Sheriff Sheron said. "He has been instrumental in tracking suspects, missing persons, and locating narcotics, just to name a few skills he brought to the job. He will be truly missed and our sympathies are with his handler, Deputy Christopher Erion and family."

The Genesee County Sheriff’s Office is truly appreciative for the tremendous care and comfort afforded to Destro and Deputy Christopher Erion by the Hilton Veterinary Clinic and the Cornell University Companion Hospital.

July 25, 2016 - 10:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bergen Swamps, byron, bergen, news, Destro.

A man from Irving got lost in a wooded area of the Bergen Swamps yesterday, and if not for the swamps' caretaker becoming concerned for his safety and the trained nose of K-9 "Destro" his off-the-trail hike could have turned out very badly.

The caretaker, Mike Merritt, said he noticed a person park at a trailhead and get out of his car and walk into the swamps about 3 p.m., yesterday. Since he had never seen the man before, and he was alone, he was a little concerned right off the bat about his activity.

When the man hadn't returned after two or three hours, his concern grew, he said.

"It was too hot, too muggy and too buggy to be out there that long," Merritt said.

So Merritt walked the entire trail himself and didn't find him.

At 10 o'clock, Merritt thought, 'well, if he's still out there, now he's trespassing' and 'I can call law enforcement without them coming out here unnecessarily.' "  

Deputy Rachel Diehl and Trooper James Moran arrived on scene and ran the plates of the unattended vehicle. They were able to contact family members, who expressed concern that they hadn't heard from Neil Gates for several hours.

Deputy Chris Erion and "Destro" were called to the scene, along with Byron's ambulance and some volunteer firefighters also responded.

With Merritt, who knows the area well, providing guidance, Erion and Destro commenced a search of the woods.  

It took more than two hours, but Gates was located curled up in some cattails where he had apparently gone to try and get water. 

He was dehydrated and had a minor knee injury, according to Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble.

Merritt said the Gates told officials he was a diabetic. 

He was treated by Byron EMTs at the scene and released.

The incident wrapped up at about 1:30 a.m., Merritt said.

Merritt noted that there are signs warning visitors to the swamps not to leave the trails.

"You can get 20 feet off a trail, get turned around and you think you know which direction to go to find a trail, but you won't find one," Merritt said.

Merritt said the concern and professionalism of those who responded last night was impressive. There was no hesitation by law enforcement to take on the search.

"I couldn't have gone out there without them," Merritt said. "With my cell phone dead, out there alone, I couldn't have helped him. He wouldn't have made it much longer."

November 10, 2015 - 5:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Destro, crime, bergen.

A Genesee County Sheriff's deputy and his dog helped law enforcement in Monroe County nab four burglary suspects yesterday morning who were thought to have broken into a house in Churchville and stolen two long guns and $5,000. 

Deputy Chris Erion and K-9 "Destro" were patrolling in Bergen along the county line after the report of the burglary in case the suspects came into Genesee County when a caller reported suspicious persons near the 7th hole of a golf course in Churchville.  

Destro pursued the suspects into the woods, Erion said, and tracked them until they exited the woods and surrendered to Monroe County deputies.

According to The Batavian's news partner 13WHAM, a homeowner called 9-1-1 about 11:30 a.m. to report four subjects in a house.

The suspects ransacked the entire home, ripping a U.S. Flag from its case and throwing it to the ground, 13WHAM reported.

Charged with second-degree burglary, third-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree grand larceny were 17-year-old Jordan McLin, 19-year-old Tyler Menke, 19-year-old Carman Stio, and 19-year-old Sean Seaman.

UPDATE: Statement released by the Monroe County Sheriff's Office:

On Monday, Nov. 9, around 11:30 a.m., deputies responded to a house on West Buffalo Street in Churchville for a burglary that had just occurred. The homeowner was returning home when he saw four suspects exit his house and run in a westerly direction.

One of the suspects was observed carrying a red backpack. The suspects ransacked the entire residence, removing a U.S. Flag from its case and throwing it to the ground. The homeowner is a U.S military veteran. Approximately $5,000 in valuable coins and money were stolen along with two long guns. Deputies immediately established a perimeter and Sheriff's K-9 arrived on scene. The suspects were tracked in a westerly direction.

A NY State Police helicopter assisted with the search. Because the search area was in close proximity to Churchville Elementary School, the school was temporarily placed in "locked out" status. After a final sweep of the area, the search was terminated.

Around 1:30 in the afternoon a citizen observed several suspicious individuals hiding in a wooded area near the #7 hole at Churchville Golf Course. Sheriff's deputies established a perimeter with the assistance of the New York State Police. Golf course employees offered golf carts to law enforcement to aid in the search.

The Genesee County Sheriff's K-9 responded to assist.

With a perimeter in place, the three suspects were pushed toward awaiting deputies and troopers and taken into custody. Jordan McLin, 17, Tyler Menke, 19, and 19-year-old Carman Stio, all of Greece, were arrested.

The suspects implicated a fourth individual, 19-year-old Sean Seaman, also of Greece. Seaman was arrested a short time later.

The four suspects were arraigned on charges of second-degree burglary, third-degree grand larceny and fourth-degree grand larceny. All four suspects were put in Monroe County Jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond. Two back packs, one of them red, containing assorted coins and property were located near a trail by a barn.

The following morning deputies recovered the two long guns that were stolen from the residence. Two pellet pistols were also recovered along the K9 track.

March 11, 2014 - 5:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in K-9, Sheriff's Office, Destro, K-9 fund, Chris Erion.

Destro will do just about anything to get permission for a minute or two of play time while on the job -- sit and stay, chase a bad guy, search for a human scent, bark at a cornered criminal, find some dope.

If he were in the wild, it would be like any dog catching a rabbit and having a bit of fun with it before it became a snack. That's what dogs do, Deputy Chris Erion explained to a group of seventh- and eighth-grade students during a seminar on law enforcement at the 26th annual Genesee County Youth Conference at GCC.

Erion put Destro through his paces demonstrating common dog tricks such as sit, down and stay, and then had Destro chase after him a few feet and then bark at him as if he were a fleeing criminal suspect. Destro then found a marijuana sample hidden in the room.

After each task, Destro got to play with a tug with a small rubber ball attached, or he got to chew on his favorite toy -- an old piece of fire hose.

Erion recounted one of Destro's greatest law enforcement feats yet, finding a post-it note that had been used in an alleged armed robbery. The job well done really demonstrates Destro's ability to pick up human scents, Erion told the students.

After the demonstration, Erion shared information about a new Facebook page set up by the children of Deputy Brian Thompson to help raise funds to support the K-9 program.

"The care and maintenance for a police K-9 is above what it typically is for a household pet," Erion said. "Their teeth have to be regularly maintained. Often they break teeth -- he's broken a couple of teeth already that had to be fixed -- care, feeding, all those sorts of things go into the K-9 fund to support the dog."

There isn't a specific budget amount the K-9 fund is trying to raise. The goal is to maintain an ongoing source of revenue to help take care of Destro and Pharoah, who retires in October, when Thompson retires, though Erion believes it would be a good idea to maintain a fund balance of $5,000 to $10,000.

"Then, if something were to happen, we could handle that immediately," Erion said. "We could put a new dog and handler into the field immediately."

The Facebook page was set up by Thompson's daughters Olivia and Sophia. They also came up with the idea of an envelope fundraiser. People can send a message through Facebook requesting an available envelope -- once a numbered envelope is taken and returned, it's counted as "filled," so you'll need to pick a different number -- and they will receive the requested envelope to fill with a donation and return.

The goal is to raise $10,000. According to the page, $2,000 has already been raised.

"If you think about it, the only life (Thompson's) children have known is life with a police K-9," Erion said. "He's worked K-9 his entire career with the Sheriff's Office and before that. It's part of their life, just having a police K-9 in the house, and they came up with an idea for a fundraiser. I just think it speaks volumes about their character and Brian's character to have that thought to do that."

Since becoming a K-9 officer, Erion said he's really learned a lot about the generosity of the Genesee County community.

"This assignment has opened my eyes to a lot of good things in our community," Erion said. "There's a school right now (where) the whole school is working on a K-9 fundraiser and I've had other people approach me to find out how to go about raising funds."

Visit the Facebook page Genesee County NY K-9 Support and click "Like"

Above, Kyle Mott gets a chance to pet Destro.

December 24, 2013 - 5:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in K-9, Sheriff's Office, Destro.

"Destro" likes people. He likes the snow. His favorite toy is a piece of old fire hose. But don't let the puppy disposition of the 2-year-old German shepherd fool you. He's a trained police dog, capable on command of doing all the things police dogs do.

If you meet Destro, you're likely to make a new friend, but let him approach you. Just to be safe.

"He's good," said his new handler and partner in crime-fighting Deputy Chris Erion. "He gets on my nerves once in awhile and I get on his, but we're a good match. He works very well."

Yesterday was the first day on the job for the new K-9 team after Erion and Destro completed 15 weeks of K-9 police dog academy.

"We start with a brand new dog who has almost zero training and we start right from the beginning," Erion said. "That way we know how he's trained, how he learns certain things. If problems come up, we know how to correct them, so it's a lot of long classes."

The 15-week course covered training in the areas of building and open area searches, obedience, tracking, drug detection, and handler protection.

The hardest part of the training, Erion said was "just sticking to it and getting up every morning."

"I got up at 4:30 every morning to get to Canada by 7:30 and I didn't get up home (until) 6:30, 7 o'clock at night and then my kids and wife needed attention, too, so balancing all of that was a challenge."

Destro gets along well with Erion's four children, the deputy said. "And he's kind of brought new life to my old German shepherd. They run around outside and play. They get along very well."

Erion and Destro start their new career together just as the K-9 handling career of Deputy Brian Thompson comes to a close. Thompson and "Pharoah" still are available to handle calls and help with the new team's training, but in about 10 months "Pharoah" will be retired from active duty.

Erion said he's grateful to the community support to help keep the Sheriff's Office K-9 program going.

"This program is completely funded by the community and we're certainly grateful for that," Erion said. "I'm personally grateful for that. There's an expense that goes into training and maintaining the dog, and that comes from donations. Without that we wouldn't be able to support the program."

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