NEWAYGO, Mich. -- Each week, Grand Rapids Harley Davidson and West Michigan's Most Wanted recognize a member of law enforcement who's gone above and beyond the call of duty to help the community they serve in.
This week, it's a K9 Officer and his handler in Newaygo County being featured.
The pair are credited with finding a missing 2-year-old this week, reuniting the toddler with his family.
Sheriff Pat Hedlund says through the department's Facebook page, Deputy Phil Green and his K9 Officer "Turbo" were dispatched to a home in Everett Township near Spruce Avenue and 40th Street around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday on a report of a missing child.
Officers that first arrived on scene found the family had already been searching the immediate area for the child, but were unable to locate him.
Officers assisted with the immediate search and were also unable to find the child prior to Deputy Green and Turbo's arrival.
With no knowledge of a direction the child may have gone, Deputy Green and Turbo started a preliminary search of the area. It wasn't long before Turbo began to head into the woods on what Deputy Green believed was a scent.
Approximately 500-600 yards into the woods, Turbo led deputies to the missing 2-year-old, who then reunited the toddler with his family.
Sheriff Pat Hedlund says Deputy Green and Turbo have been partners with the Newaygo County Sheriff's Office for the last 9 years, credited with dozens of successful ventures in tracking individuals and drug detection.
Unfortunately because of Turbo's age, he will be retiring later this year. Sheriff Hedlund says Deputy Green will then be assigned a new K9 Officer to handle in the near future.
Sheriff Hedlund says because of the success and value of the K9 Officer program within the department, the Sheriff's Office is hoping to add a second K9 Officer to its ranks.
Fundraisers will be organized to help offset the cost of the program and purchase of the second K9 unit.
"K9 handlers train very hard all year-long, in all kinds of weather and environments," said Sheriff Hedlund in a post. "Deputy Green is no exception. Training pays big dividends in a situation like this where a young child is found and returned to their families safe and sound. As a former K9 handler for many years, I can attest to the abilities of Deputy Green and Turbo. When Turbo retires, his presence on the streets of our county will be missed. I am very proud of Phil and Turbo."