UNION COUNTY, NJ — The Union County Sheriff’s Office is in the process of recruiting two new officers – with four legs each.

The two canines would join the office’s K-9 Search & Rescue Unit, which works with various law enforcement agencies both inside and outside the county.

“The K-9 Search & Rescue Unit’s assignments include searching buildings, locating missing persons and detecting narcotics,” the county’s website says. “Their duties also involve bomb investigations and specialized patrol functions.”

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The website also notes that, "“The services of this unit are requested by local police departments, Prosecutor’s Office and the County Police within Union County,” adding, “The K-9 Search and Rescue unit also services departments outside of Union County when requested. They also respond to calls which include providing assistance to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, Drug Enforcement Agency, New Jersey State Police, U.S. Customs, U.S. Postal Police, and the U.S. Secret Service.”

The sheriff’s office is requesting $14,900 from the county to purchase the dogs from Connecticut Canine Services of Bethany, CT. The county freeholders will vote on whether to approve this purchase during their regular meeting on November 14. Union County Sheriff Peter Corvelli spoke to the freeholders about his request during their meeting Thursday night.

Corvelli said that about 12 canines are currently employed by the county. He explained that the two new dogs are needed to replace two who worked with human officers that have been promoted. “As an individual gets promoted, we cannot cross-handle dogs, so we’re going to need two new dogs,” Corvelli said. 

Freeholder Vice Chair Alexander Mirabella commended the K-9 Unit for its work protecting the county.

“I know that the townships rely heavily on the Sheriff’s K-9 Unit to go through schools and to prepare for whatever could be out there, whether it’s drugs or explosives,” Mirabella said. “I want to compliment you [Corvelli] on your leadership and the K-9 Unit itself.”