LAND 'O LAKES (FOX 13) - This week's MVP at the Pasco County Sheriff's Office is K9 Yager, after making his first take-down on the job.
"One minute he's around a bunch of kids playing with them and then, 20 minutes later, he's off apprehending a guy that's fleeing from him," his handler, K9 Deputy Mike Sentner said.
Yager made his first takedown Thursday. Pasco deputies were after a driver who they say was speeding in a stolen vehicle.
The man tried to get away, running through nearby woods, but Yager was on his tail and effortlessly took him down.
"He's very wired. He's very focused and driven. That's his biggest thing, I would say, if you were to describe him in one word, it would be driven," Sentner said.
During training, a K9 and his handler are certified as a team, but for these two, team is an understatement.
"I mean, at home he's just part of the family," Sentner said.
The two have been together for about a year. They sleep under the same roof, wake up at the same time, and get the same assignments at work.
But getting to this point takes a lot of work. Initial training for the K9 program is about four months long. After that, they train once a week.
K9s learn about discipline and obedience, how to track suspects on all kinds of terrain, and how to react under high stress situations.
"One minute he's around a bunch of kids playing with them and then 20 minutes later he's off apprehending a guy that's fleeing from him," said deputy Mike Sentner.
But under all this tough-guy attitude, Yager is a softy.
"He just wants to play!" "He's always wanting to work, though.”
Yager is one of 22 K9s currently working for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office.
Each k9 costs about $8,000, but according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, much of the money needed for the program comes from donations.
So far the sheriff's office says it's showing great results.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office posted body camera video on social media of Yager’s first takedown. It’s gotten thousands of views, as well as well-wishes and congratulatory comments from people around the world.