Bibb County gets first bomb dog through consolidation

lfabian@macon.comSeptember 30, 2013 

Bibb County Sheriff David Davis has never been licked in the face by a new deputy, but then again he’s fairly new to swearing in canines.

Davis added two new deputies Monday morning -- Macon police K9 Handler Tim Rivers and his bomb-sniffing dog named Arco.

The two are virtually inseparable.

“Daddy gets a kiss?” Rivers asked before the ceremony. “Oh, good boy,” he said as the black German shepherd stood on his hind legs and licked Rivers’ chin.

“He’s got a drive to work. He loves to work,” said Rivers, who had many of his family members attend the ceremony.

The pair finished first in their Explosive K9 Handler class in Chatham County last week.

Arco has spent the past five years as a bomb-sniffing dog for the Macon Police Department. He’s uncovered discarded weapons and can identify more than two dozen scents.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency paid for training and the department’s Explosive K9 vehicle through a Homeland Security grant.

Under the provisions of the funding, Rivers and Arco will be on call for incidents across the state.

But it’s not all work and no play.

Football is his favorite game, Rivers said.

“I toss the football at least 60 or 65 yards, and Arco will go retrieve the football and bring it back to me,” Rivers said.

That can be challenging when the officers are working Mercer University football games. Arco went after a ball on the sidelines once, Rivers said.

“He’s not going to run for an interception or anything,” he said. “He knows once the chain comes on his neck, it’s time to work.”

Rivers has been on the job three years and is the latest member of the Macon-Bibb Bomb Squad.

Macon police members of the unit were deputized earlier this year so they could begin working cases in the county.

The full Macon-Bibb law enforcement merger takes affect in January.

The dog eventually obeyed the sheriff’s first command to sit, but he declined to raise his right paw for the oath.

“All right Arco, do you solemnly swear... ,” Davis asked, as the dog turned his attention to a television camera near the floor behind him.

The dog gave the videographer’s face a good tongue lashing before circling behind Rivers.

“Of which you can lawfully execute...” Davis continued as Arco jumped up on Rivers.

“He’s saying he do, sir,” his partner said.

“By virtue of me being the sheriff and you being the newest deputy dog, welcome aboard,” Davis said with a pat on his muzzle.

Although the sheriff extended his hand, Arco was still reluctant to shake.

David bent down and attached photo identification and a badge to his collar and gave his ears a good rubbing.

“You got it, yeah, you got it,” Davis said before Arco licked his face.

To contact Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.

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