Canine (K-9) Unit

It is the goal of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Canine (K-9) Unit to provide support to deputies and our agency through patrolling, tracking, and narcotics detection. The presence of a K-9 increases deputy safety, may prevent injury to deputies or other law enforcement personnel. Due to their keen sense of smell and hearing, K-9’s assist their partners with detecting suspects and contraband.

Narcotics detection K-9’s are trained to locate and alert on the odor of narcotics and illegal drugs in a variety of locations. Tracking K-9’s are trained to detect, follow, and safely locate suspects who have fled on foot, or who have concealed or barricaded themselves in an effort to avoid apprehension. Additional duties for our K-9 teams include article and building searches, high-risk traffic stops, and providing assistance to Federal, State, County, and local law enforcement agencies.

Currently MCSO has three K-9 teams: one tracking team and two narcotics detection teams (one of which is assigned to a covert investigations unit and is not pictured below).

Prior to beginning their career as a Sheriff’s K-9 team, a new K-9 and handler will attend a 400-hour basic academy together, and upon completion, must pass standards and certify with the Oregon Police Canine Association. Once deployed, K-9 teams fulfill monthly training hour requirements and recertify annually with OPCA.

The personnel assigned to MCSO’s K-9 Unit are committed to providing highly effective and professional support services to all local law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety of our community.

'SPENCER' and Deputy O'Donnell

Deputy O’Donnell and K-9 Spencer have been a team since 2012 and are MCSO’s Narcotics Detection Team. Spencer, a ten year old German Shepherd, was selected and imported from the Netherlands to join MCSO and is certified in narcotics detection, specifically Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Heroin, and Marijuana, through the OPCA.


Deputy O’Donnell and Spencer have accumulated over 1,000 deployments and completed over 850 vehicle sniffs in their career together. Spencer has proven himself to be extremely reliable in locating hidden drug odors and has documented finds in backpacks, bags, vehicles, residences, and open areas. Some of his most impressive finds include two kilos of cocaine in a hidden compartment of a vehicle, 25 pounds of methamphetamine in a floor trap, and over 13 pounds of marijuana hidden with a half-pound of cocaine. While assisting with drug investigations, Spencer has also located over $2 million in drug contaminated U.S. Currency. Spencer’s deployments have resulted in the detection of large quantities of drugs hidden so well they likely would not have been found without his assistance.

'RANGER' and Sergeant Weber

Sergeant Weber began his career with MCSO in 2002, joined the K-9 Unit in 2004, and was promoted to Sergeant in 2018. His current four-legged partner, Ranger, was selected and imported from the Netherlands in 2014 and these two make up MCSO’s Patrol and Tracking Team. Ranger is a 7-year-old German Shepherd who received his KNPV Title (Koninklijke Nederlandse Politiehond Vereniging, or Royal Dutch Police Dog Association) of Met Lof with a score of 399 out of 440 possible points prior to being selected to join MCSO’s ranks.

To better understand what his score indicates, there are three levels of certification:
  • PH-1A means the dog achieved at least 305 possible points and is valid for one-year.
  • PH-1 indicates a score of 348 or higher and is valid for the life of the dog.
  • Met Lof is the highest and rarest certificate possible, indicates the dog was exceptional by achieving 392 points or higher, and is valid for the life of the dog.
Most police dogs achieve PH-1 Certification which makes us extremely proud of Ranger’s excellence and Met Lof Certificate!

Sergeant Weber and Ranger have recorded hundreds of successful tracks, searches, finds, and surrenders during their partnership. They work closely and train with local law enforcement agencies and have assisted the U.S. Marshals by helping track, locate and apprehend offenders all across the state from Vernonia to Newport. Ranger is a crowd favorite; he participates in numerous public demonstrations and outreach events throughout the year and was named the '2018 Canine Citizen of the Year' by the City of Troutdale.

'VARRO' 

Varro joined MCSO’s K-9 Unit in 2005 as then-Deputy Weber’s partner, and after a nine year career, retired in 2014. Varro, an imported German Shepherd (thanks to grant-funding), earned certification as a Patrol and Tracking K-9 through OPCA. In his nearly 1,000 deployments, Varro searched over 200 structures, and trailed and tracked hundreds of suspects who fled law enforcement, many of whom would not have been located in attics, crawlspaces, blackberry bushes, and even under water, without his keen sense of smell. It wasn’t always suspects he searched for; Varro located articles of clothing, firearms, knives, keys, and even a lost pair of eyeglasses for a citizen.Varro participated in dozens of events, demonstrations, and competitions. He was always a favorite with kids and the public, especially at the Oregon Humane Society Kids Camp and a variety of other summer camps.

Varro received a number of accolades during his successful career with MCSO including the Sheriff’s Award, Citation, and multiple medals in local K-9 competitions. He is enjoying retirement relaxing at home with the Weber family, mentoring Ranger, and (we can only imagine) telling him stories about the Good Ol’ Days.