New Sheriff’s K-9 makes courthouse debut

Sheriff Fredda Maddox (right) introduces K-9 Marley, who is partnered with Sgt. Janis Pickell.

WEST CHESTER — Meet K-9 Marley. Chester County Sheriff Fredda Maddox introduced the newest member of the office on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. Following a training period, the 18-month-old Labrador retriever will replace the recently retired K-9 Melody as the courthouse comfort dog.

K-9 Marley, who is partnered with Sgt. Janis Pickell, followed the same path to the CCSO as K-9 Melody. He received training at the Seeing Eye in Morristown, N.J., a renowned guide dog facility. Occasionally, dogs do not meet the Seeing Eye’s specific requirements for service and become “career change” dogs, frequently finding a productive home in law enforcement or search and rescue.

Sgt. Paul Bryant Jr., who heads the CCSO K-9 Unit, said he was pleased that K-9 Marley became available days after he called the Seeing Eye center to inquire about availability. He said demand for K-9 Melody’s services more than tripled during her tenure of more than four years at the Chester County Justice Center.

Pickell, one of K-9 Melody’s handlers, said she expected the transition to full-time K-9 comfort duties would be seamless. “I’ll be continuing my contacts with the Crime Victims’ Center, judges and attorneys,” she said, adding that the goal is to ensure that participants in court proceedings have a productive outlet to defuse tensions.

“I’m grateful that my first hire was a lovable K-9,” said Maddox. “I look forward to Marley being a source of comfort for participants in court proceedings for years to come.”

K-9 Marley received a warm welcome from the entire office, where employees are also looking forward to watching him in action.  In the meantime, their challenge will be to avoid interrupting K-9 Marley’s training regimen. During that period, deputies may need training to resist the natural impulse to pat Marley on the head.

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