Meet Our Bucks County Sheriff’s Office K9 Unit
In April 2022, 31 working dogs were seized by Connecticut state and local authorities in a horrifying animal cruelty case that shocked the community. These animals were found malnourished and in dire need of assistance when The Hometown Foundation, a local organization, stepped in to help provide medical services and safe homes for the dogs. Thirteen of those dogs needed extra patience and rehabilitation to reach their full potential as working dogs.
In September 2022, the Bucks County Sheriff's Office adopted K9s Zeke and Emma and created a safe working environment for them to thrive, appointing Deputies Christina Brewerton and Dale Walton as handlers for Zeke and Emma, respectively.
“The Hometown Foundation was gracious enough to facilitate the adoptions. We picked up Emma and Zeke from Connecticut in September 2022,” explains Deputy Dale Walton, Emma’s Handler. “Once we were told we would be starting up the Department’s very first K9 unit, Christina and I, and my wife, were head over heels for this assignment. They were family since day one.”
The K9s will work in law enforcement alongside Deputy Sheriffs Brewerton and Walton. The plan is for Emma to be used for explosive detection and patrol purposes throughout Bucks County, PA. Zeke will be used for explosive detection, and eventually move on to search and rescue.
Zeke, a black Labrador retriever armed with a unique smile and a sharp nose, has repeatedly proven he is an outstanding asset to the sheriff’s office and Bucks County. Even though he initially appeared timid and frail, Zeke's determination is strong and his willingness to learn is unmatched.
“I have yet to find something Zeke dislikes. Especially when it comes to food,” Brewerton says. “Zeke is a goofball who loves to run and nap, eat, and nap, fetch and nap- then repeat. He's a total lovebug who just wants chin rubs and belly rubs. His smile makes me laugh daily.”
Emma is a small shepherd who loves to play fetch and enjoys her off time with her family. While on duty she is always looking out for her partner Deputy Walton. From day one, Emma impressed everyone with her obedience and agility skills.
She and Deputy Walton first met in Connecticut after she was imported to America from Czechoslovakia where she was born on December 28, 2020. This team trained with the Philadelphia Police Department and became certified in explosive detection in April of 2023. Emma is now able to detect 27 different odors used for making explosive devices. She continues to learn and has already demonstrated she is a remarkable asset as she has been deployed to several bomb threats in this county.
“Emma is such a sweet, loving dog. She loves to be with me, she is my shadow. So, I would have to say her favorite thing is being with me and spending time together. She loves to play fetch at the park and go on car rides. She is obsessed with going into the creek in our backyard to get wet. She loves chest rubs like you wouldn't believe. I haven't found anything she doesn't like to do yet. She is a fun, energetic dog,” says Walton.
“Don't let her size and easy-going demeanor fool you,” he cautions. “She is a little firecracker when she needs to be. What makes her special to me is how she has helped me overcome certain things from my military experience. She doesn't give me time to think, I'm always on the go with her. I just love her company. I can't wait to get through all of her training so we can start working together on the job. She also changed the way my wife looks at dogs. She never wanted a dog but she's absolutely in love with Emma.”
In April 2023, K9 Zeke and his partner, Deputy Brewerton completed scent school with Philadelphia Police. In August 2023, they completed a tracking and evidence recovery course at Penn Vet. K9 Zeke is now employed with the sheriff’s office as a dual-certified deputy, specializing in explosive detection, tracking, and evidence recovery. Since their graduation from both courses, this team has been deployed to several bomb threats throughout the county already and can also be called upon to assist with missing persons and evidence recovery.
Deputy Walton and Emma are currently in patrol school through the Philadelphia Police K9 Unit with a tentative completion date in December 2023. Once completed, K9 Emma will be the second dual-certified K9 in the sheriff’s office. Ready to get back to work, Deputy Walton and K9 Emma can’t wait to begin testing their training in real life situations.
“We haven't started working together, as of yet,” says Walton. I know once we have completed scent and patrol school, we will have a great time. As for working with them in training, they’ve been awesome! They’ve both been amazing and learn fast whatever we are asking of them. Both will do very well when training is completed.”
The Bucks County Sheriff’s Office K9 team is slated to soon be able to deploy anywhere countywide for criminal tracking, article searches, and other threats to community safety.
The K9 team looks forward to serving Bucks County for many years to come!