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Say Hello to UNG’s New K-9 Unit!

Officer Dustin Singleton and Rex sitting down in front of Singleton’s patrol car. Photo Credit: Rebecca Ansley

University of North Georgia welcomes their first K-9 unit.

The unit officially began on Oct. 14, but it has been in the works since Summer 2021. The grant was approved by the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program. This grant includes funding, access to a portal car, five weeks of training and an annual certification.  

The Office of Professional Standards assists this unit led by Officer Dustin Singleton. The K-9 Unit is on the Cumming campus but serves all campuses when needed. They operate Monday through Friday and they are on call 24/7. They do special events on the weekends.

Officer Singleton and his German Shepherd, Rex assists any events with a large group of people, high profile visitors, and UNG’s executives. Outside the university, they will provide mutual aid which includes bomb threats and locating missing weapons. They are not tasked to find drugs. 

Rex in front of the back entrance of the Academic Building on Cumming campus. Photo Credit: Rebecca Ansley

Rex has been trained to sniff and search for bombs. He used to work for Caiden County Sheriff’s Office until unforeseen circumstances, he and his owner had to part ways. Since Singleton was next in line to receive the grant from Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Program, he became Rex’s new partner.  

Singleton was with the Gainesville campus for a year and a half until he transferred over to the Cumming campus a year ago. He has previous experience with K-9 training when he worked for Forsyth County Jail’s Pups with a Purpose Program. The Pups with a Purpose Program is when selected inmates have the opportunity to give back to society by providing care and basic obedience training to homeless dogs from Forsyth County’s Animal Shelter.  

“I’m extremely excited. This has been a long-life dream of mine since I was a kid.”-Officer Dustin Singleton

He said that he is thankful for UNG’s Police Chief Greg Williams for helping him achieve this dream and Deputy Scott Lord from Hall County Sheriff’s Office for providing him with the information he needed to get the grant for the K-9 Unit. 

Singleton said, “If the program goes well, we might add on more police dogs for the K-9 Unit.”

In November, they completed six weeks of training which included an Explosive Ordnance Disposal class in Jekyll Island, Ga. The class  demonstrated how to locate explosive devices and to properly respond in mutual aid situations. The last weeks concluded with training at the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia’s Department of Corrections and the Georgia State Capital in Atlanta.  

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About the Contributor
Rebecca Ansley
Rebecca Ansley, Staff Editor
My name is Rebecca Ansley, and I am located on the Gainesville campus. I am a junior majoring in Communications with concentration in Multimedia Journalism. I am into photography and film. I love journalism because it allows me to see the different perspectives of those around me. I love being able to give people their voices through my writing and to show the different perspectives of people who have different experiences than me. I want to give the communities their voices back and understand how certain events impact all of us. I also want to show that side to my photography as well. Photojournalism gives me that chance to have my camera lens look into the soul of the person's eyes, to understand their emotions, and to let others see that side of them too.
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Say Hello to UNG’s New K-9 Unit!