SULLIVAN COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Local donations are bringing the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office its first working K-9 in almost a decade, Sheriff Clark Cottom reported Thursday.

The Sheriff’s Office newest sheriff’s deputy, K-9 Ace, is a 9-month-old Belgian Malinois who will be partnered with Deputy Justin Copeland, a former K9 handler at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility before joining the department in 2017.

Adding a K-9 to the Sheriff’s Office will be a huge asset, Cottom said, and expenses such as training, vet bills and food will mostly be offset by community donations.

Copeland and Ace are training together at CK-9 Kennels and Training in Vigo County, where Ace is learning obedience, search and rescue, narcotics detection, article searches, and felony apprehension. They expect to be on the road by early summer.