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Upshur County Commissioners and a room full of police officers were introduced to the Upshur County’s newest K9 officer, Rico, and his trainer, Deputy Tyler Chidester, pictured above, during their Dec. 15 meeting. / All photos by Monica Zalaznik

Upshur County officials bid farewell to K-9 AJ, welcome a new furry-faced, four-pawed officer to the sheriff’s department

BUCKHANNON – An eight-year K9 veteran officer of the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office officially retired, and his successor was introduced during an Upshur County Commission meeting.

The Upshur County Commission and a room full of police officers were introduced to the Upshur County’s newest K9 officer, Rico, and his trainer, Deputy Tyler Chidester during their Dec. 15 meeting.

After everyone met the 15-month-old canine, the commission also recognized retiring K9 officer AJ.

“We would like to recognize, on behalf of the Commission and the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office, K9 officer AJ for his loyalty and dedication and service to the citizens of Upshur County,” the president of the Upshur County Commission Kristie Tenney said. “We want to thank the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office and [AJ’s] partner Lt. Marshall Powers, thank you so much for your time.”

Upshur County Sheriff Virgil Miller said there would be a special farewell announcement made over their radios in honor of the retiring pooch.

“We have a special announcement: we would like to take the time to recognize K9 Officer AJ, who is retiring after eight years of service to the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office,” the radio operator said. “Many times, AJ’s presence was enough to deter criminal acts. AJ, you have been a huge asset to Upshur County, not just the sheriff’s department, but to the citizens as well.”

From left, Upshur County Commissioner Sam Nolte, Lt. Marshall Powers and K9 Officer AJ, commission president Kristie Tenney, sheriff Virgil Miller and commissioner Doug Bush thank Powers and retiring K9 officer AJ for their service to the sheriff’s office.
K9 Officer AJ and his handler and partner Lt. Marshall Powers pose for a photo.

The Upshur County Commission also recognized sponsors that made it possible to train a new K-9 unit.

“We would like to show our appreciation for the donation to the canine project and the special individuals that helped us make that happen; we just want to thank you very much for your donations to Upshur County Sheriff’s Department and what you do for Upshur County,” Tenney said. “Thank you for being here and thank you for your donation toward the canine project.”

“We truly appreciate it on behalf of the commission and the sheriff’s department, so thank you very much, we’d like to recognize the Tuscany Oil & Gas LLC, Mountain V Oil & Gas, Mike Shaver, and the Elks Lodge number 1736.”

Pictured, from left, are commissioner Sam Nolte, Mike Shaver, sheriff Virgil Miller, Emily Pettit, Jennifer Fluke, commission president Kristie Tenney and commissioner Doug Bush.

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