MIDDLESEx COUNTY, NJ - Detection, recovery, and resuce are the main functions of the Middlesex County Sheriff's K-9 program.  Now a new highly-trained pup has been added to the team.

K-9 Celeste is ready to put her best paw forward!.  This German Shepherd and her partner, Sheriff’s Officer Rafael Morales, are now certified to track criminals and missing persons.

Starting January 28, 2019, the pair completed a 16-week course conducted by the Union County Sheriff’s Office Canine Academy, where highly skilled K-9 trainers taught Celeste how to identify and track human odors. On May 17, 2019, the pair was officially certified.

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Their partnership began in March 2016, when Sheriff’s Officer Morales was selected to be the new handler with the K-9 Unit of the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office. He was partnered with K-9 Celeste, a 2-year-old female from The Seeing Eye in Morristown. Their first certification, in September 2016, was as a K-9 Explosive/Firearms Detection K-9 Team.

“This latest certification for Celeste and Officer Morales represents a new dimension to their partnership, and a stronger, more effective K-9 Unit for the Sheriff’s Office,” said Sheriff Mildred S. Scott.

Sheriff’s Officer Morales and K-9 Celeste will now be available to help with detection across all 25 of our municipalities. They are a great addition to the talents of our experienced County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit, which includes: Sheriff’s Officer Kevin Mastroserio and K-9s Cadence and Bryn, and Sheriff’s Investigator Jeff Bell and K-9 Joy. Both K-9s Cadence and Joy, along with their handlers, are certified in Explosive/Firearm Detection. K-9 Bryn is also certified in Narcotics Detection.