WOODSTOCK, Va. (WHSV) — There's a new member on the force at the Shenandoah County Sheriff's Office — and he has four paws.
Last month, Master Deputy Colton Manich took home his new K9 companion Chase, who is trained to sniff out narcotics. In addition to assisting in searches, the Belgian Malinois also joins the full-time school resource officer during his shift at Strasburg High School.
"Throughout my school day, it's been positive with the kids in opening that communication with the students," said Manich.
Chase's addition comes as the northern part of the Shenandoah Valley continues to battle the opioid epidemic. Since the K9 was introduced at the school, Manich said there has been a drop in the number of drug cases.
A grant of around $1,400 from the Tracy Webb Memorial Foundation helped to fund Chase's training, as well as a year's worth of veterinary costs.
Manich, who's been with the agency for five years, said Chase has also been a positive addition to his own life.
"Having him as a partner, if ever there's a time when we're having a bad day or I'm having a bad day, I can go out and enjoy the time with him, train with him and it immediately just turns the day around," he said.