K-9 team in training

Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Cody Pesio and K-9 Lars.

With a new partner in training, K-9 Lars will soon be back on the streets. Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Cody Pesio took on the K-9 handler assignment and his ten weeks of training with Hillsboro Police Department is currently underway.

Pesio, 28, is a lifelong Clatskanie resident who served as reserve officer with the Clatskanie Police Department before serving with the Vernonia Police Department. In November of 2017, Pesio was hired by the Sheriff’s Office. This past September he was promoted to K-9 handler. He has been working with Lars for the past two weeks.

As a “people person” who enjoys talking to others and finding ways to help them, the law enforcement profession was certainly a calling for Pesio, who has met people their lowest and highest moments in life. His goal is to establish a good, long-lasting relationship with those he meets, regardless of why he was called. Also a fan of dogs, the K-9 assignment is a good fit.

As a local who is fond of the county, the Sheriff’s Office was a natural choice for him. In his off time, Pesio is an active outdoorsman, enjoying hunting and fishing. He also says Columbia County is a great place to raise a family.

Pesio has been patrolling the Clatskanie area since this past February. His connection to the people and area has both good and bad points. He knows the people, knows the lay of the land, and thus can respond quickly and with a sense of background on most calls. However, at times it can be difficult working with people he knows so well.

“I’m always going to do the right thing,” Pesio said.

New to the K-9 handler job, Pesio still has much to learn. Early on, he finds in discussions with experienced handlers that building a trusting relationship with a K-9 partner is the key to success. A mutual sense of protection must be achieved for the two; confidence in each other is a core aspect of teamwork in this dangerous line of duty.

Lars, also trained in narcotics detection, is more seasoned, having served in patrol previously and made several captures in the past three years. For the past two weeks, Lars and Pesio have mostly been into light training and exercising, just getting to know each other. When they’re off-duty, Lars lives with the Pesio family.

Reflecting on his new assignment, Pesio said he is looking forward to getting a K-9 back on the road for Columbia County. In recent months, there have been calls in which a K-9 could have made the difference in a suspect pursuit. “I feel it’s going to be a huge asset,” Pesio said. “When Lars was on patrol before he had numerous captures.”

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K-9 Lars back on the beat

K-9 Lars at Clatskanie City Park.

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