DEPUTY SEAN GIFFORD joined the county’s Road Patrol Saturday, April 15, along with his five-year-old canine, Nero. The two new Shiawassee County officers can be seen with Sheriff Brian BeGole outside the jail following Gifford’s swearing-in on Thursday, April 13. Gifford and Nero will conduct traffic stops, provide school locker search services, and are available to any municipality in Shiawassee County.
Deputy Gifford, who spent the past 11 years working in the city of Perry Police Department, says he “really appreciates the opportunity the city of Perry gave me,” and that he is “looking forward to serving all of Shiawassee County.”
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)
by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
Shiawassee County Sheriff Brian BeGole swore in the county’s newest deputy, Sean Gifford, on Thursday, April 13 at the Shiawassee County Jail. Gifford, who spent the last 11 years with the city of Perry Police Department, has been a dog handler for the past 10 years. Deputy Charles J. Duffield was recently transferred to the Friend of the Court office, which made room for Gifford, who started on Saturday, April 15.
Sheriff BeGole is delighted to be able to add an experienced police officer such as Gifford to his staff, but he is even more enthusiastic about the addition of Deputy Gifford’s patrol/narcotic canine, Nero. “I feel very fortunate, not only to obtain Sean, because he is a good officer, but his dog as well. Deputy Gifford and Nero will be available to any department or school in the county, and they will also be patrolling the roads on the evening shift. It was a great two-for-one deal for us. Perry Mayor James Huguelet and Police Chief Kyle Bawks are sad to lose Sean and Nero, but they have both been very supportive throughout the transition.”
Deputy Gifford and Nero will work the evening shift, primarily, though they will be available for school locker searches upon request. Their main focus, and that of the Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Office, is to stop the trafficking and use of methamphetamines and heroin in Shiawassee County. Nero is trained to detect most illegal drugs, and he is also very adept at tracking, article detection, area searches, and building searches.
The county has been without full-time canine services since 2015 when the program was eliminated, though Undersheriff Butch Brancheau and his canine, Vader, have been working part-time in that capacity since the beginning of the year. Brancheau is a master dog trainer who will set standards high for Deputy Gifford and Nero, as well as providing expert oversight.
The addition of canine services will cost the county very little, reports Sheriff BeGole. A Chevy Tahoe will be outfitted with a cage that the county already owns, food is traditionally donated, and Russ Ritchie, DVM, and Erwin Lenneman, DVM, of Heritage Acres Veterinary Services of Owosso have volunteered their veterinary services. Those looking to donate to the Shiawassee County canine program should contact the Shiawassee County Jail, and make checks payable to the Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Office.