The K-9 Unit started in September 2001, with the Savannah Police Department and included four K-9 teams and used only Belgian Malinois, as their K-9 partners.
The SCMPD K-9 Unit now has one Sergeant and four K-9 officers. The unit consists of; Sgt. Eric Dukarski and K-9 Nado, Cpl. Amanda McGruder and K-9 Gonzo, APO Mike Drayton with K-9 Ivan, Cpk Phillip Collard and K-9 Oscar, and APO Ferrero and K-9 Dooly. In April of 2014, a Dutch Shepherd, K-9 Ziggy, was added to the team and is also handled by APO Mike Drayton.
About the Dogs
With the exception of Ziggy, each canine is considered dual purpose. This means the canines are trained in both patrol work and narcotics detection. K-9 Ziggy is trained as a single purpose gun detection dog. The dual purpose patrol dogs are certified in both patrol work and narcotics detection. Patrol work consists of tracking suspects/missing persons, searching buildings for suspects, locating evidence used in crimes, and apprehension of suspects. Narcotics certification consists of the canine being able to locate Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroin, and Crystal Meth in different environments. When the teams certify we are required to search inside of buildings, cars, and in open areas. Members of the unit train once a week as a group to maintain the team’s proficiency. Each handler also train by with their K-9 partner individually the rest of the week. The SCMPD K-9 teams are certified are either through the United States Police Canine Association and/or the Chatham County Sheriff’s Department.
The gun detection training is focused on finding weapons. Gun dogs sniff out scents associated with firearms- oils, powder, and the residue of fired gunpowder. This training helps SCMPD to locate weapons that have been hidden or tossed aside by fleeing suspects. The gun dog certification is obtained through the National Police Canine Association.
Meet the Team
Sgt. Eric Dukarski has been with the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department since 1996 and has been on the Canine Unit since it was created in September of 2001. He took over as the Canine Unit Commander in June of 2013. Sgt. Dukarski handles Canine Nado, a dual purpose Belgian Malinois.
Cpl. Amanda McGruder has been with the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department since 1996 and has been on the Canine Unit since it was created on September of 2001. Cpl. McGruder handles Canine Gonzo, a dual purpose Belgian Malinois.
APO Mike Drayton has been with the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department since 1998 and has been on the Canine Unit since 2004. APO Drayton handles Canine Ivan, a dual purpose Belgian Malinois. APO Drayton also handles the unit’s first single purpose Gun Dog canine Ziggy, a Dutch Sheppard.
Cpl Phillip Collard has been on the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department since 2007 and he has been on the Canine Unit since 2013. APO Collard handles canine Oscar, a dual purpose Belgian Malinois.
APO Benjamin Ferrero has been with the Savannah-Chatham Metro Police Department since 2011 and has been with the Canine Unit since 2015. APO Ferrero handles canine Dooly, a dual purpose Belgian Malinois.
The K-9 Unit is Commanded by:
Sgt Eric Dukarski
E-mail Sgt. Dukarski