CIRCLEVILLE — Some may be familiar with what K9 units do for law enforcement agencies throughout the country keeping their communities safe and secure, and when a K9 passes, it’s a loss for the entire community.
In Circleville, the Pickaway Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of one of its most beloved K9s, Turpin, who passed away last Friday morning.
Turpin was a Belgian Malinois breed and started working for the Sheriff’s Office on April 8, 2012. According to Sheriff Robert Radcliff, Turpin came from the Netherlands, and was trained at Shallow Creek Kennels in Pennsylvania.
“We liked what we saw as far as what they offered,” Radcliff told The Circleville Herald.
Prior to getting Turpin, Radcliff stated that his office was looking at other breed options as well as other kennels outside of the State. He added that his department liked how Shallow Creek trained their dogs as some have been trained for law enforcement, both in and outside the United States as well as for the military.
“A lot of different agencies purchase dogs from Shallow Creek,” Radcliff commented.
Turpin was one of the first dogs to come from the kennel in Pennsylvania. The Sheriff’s Office has since added more dogs from the kennel that have served alongside deputies over the years.
Turpin served as a vital asset to the Sheriff’s Office during his time, as he soon became a jack-of-all-trades. He was traditionally trained to be a narcotic K9 identifying illicit drugs in the community. However, he was trained to be an apprehension dog going after suspects who flee as well as tracking them down.
Other dogs have been known to be masters in one particular area of law enforcement such as locating explosives or drugs. The Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office has one dog that specializes in explosives while others are adaptable for any incidents. Currently, the department has three K9s on active duty.
In April of 2012, Turpin was given to his first handler Corporal Erick Eberhard. Eberhard would eventually leave the Sheriff’s Office in May of 2016. Turpin would then be given to Deputy Jeremy Wallace who handled the K9 until his retirement in May 28, 2019.
Turpin would go through additional training with Wallace in Pennsylvania for a routine retraining with a different handler. All dogs trained at Shallow Creek are trained beside their handler for them to not only get acquainted but to have a strong bond when it came to emergencies.
In 2019, Turpin’s age caught up with him making it a suitable time for him to be retired from the force. He would soon be purchased by Wallace and would reside at his home with his family.
Last Friday, Radcliff received a text message from Wallace during the early morning hours. Around 2 a.m., Radcliff was called by Wallace who told the Sheriff of Turpin passing away. For many of the K9s who serve, they are more than just a dog working for the department.
“They are a family,” Radcliff stated. “It’s like losing one of our human officers… they are one of us.”
Outside of the Pickaway Sheriff’s facility, there is a memorial for K9s who have served in the department. Radcliff stated that they would order a plaque to recognize Turpin in the future.
“He had a total of seven years with the Sheriff’s Office — he was 10 years old and one month,” Radcliff concluded.