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Working like a dog: A day in the life of NHCSO K-9 Bane and his handler

Class picture.jpg
Rachel Keith
Bane and Master Deputy Glen Pedersen visit Ms. Kahrs's third-grade class at Winter Park Elementary.

The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office has one dog who’s dedicated to search and rescue only. His name is Bane — and his handler is Master Deputy Glen Pedersen. One of Bane’s many responsibilities is to make his rounds greeting kids in schools. WHQR shadowed him at Winter Park Elementary.

Ms. Kahrs: “Hi, welcome, come on in…”

Deputy Pedersen: “How are you doing, guys?”

Ms. Kahrs: “We need some good luck, tell them what we’re getting ready for tomorrow?”

Students: “Math EOGs!”

Ms.Kahrs: “We are not going to let those testing monsters fool us tomorrow.”

Students: “Nooo”

Deputy Pedersen: “Want to take a few minutes and we can talk about Bane?”

Student: “Yea sure, can I pet him?”

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Rachel Keith
Bane doing some sniffing of students at Winter Park.

Bane is a seven-year-old Hanoverian Scenthound (commonly called a Hanover Hound) a breed that hails from Germany. He’s tan-colored and has big droopy ears. Deputy Pederson tells Ms. Lindsay Kahrs’s third-grade class about how he works.

Deputy Pedersen: “They would call me with Bane, we would go and we’d give Bane something you wore, something you’d touched…”

Student: “Something that has your DNA...like your toothbrush...”

Deputy Pedersen: “Exactly, your scent…’’

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Rachel Keith
Third-graders petting NHC Sheriff Office's K-9 Bane

Pedersen told the kids, Bane is not like the other dogs on the force who sniff out drugs or apprehend suspects: “Well, I’m just going to tell you right now, Bane’s not very fast. Bane, he’s like me, we just go slow and methodical…[Bane growling], see that?”

And while Bane’s primary role is search and rescue, he’s made a close friendship with one student, Blaise, in Ms. Kahrs’s class.

“He’s a walker, so he walks to school and he’s out there most mornings, so he gets to greet him. Sometimes when we’re outside for a snack and he’s outside in his truck, he likes to stop by and Bane will peek out the window,” said Ms. Kahrs.

But one morning, Blaise was in disguise when he came to greet Bane, which he didn’t like.

Blaise: “He’s a good dog, a good dog. I come to see him every day, well not every day.”

Deputy Pedersen: “You try every morning, what happened to him one day? Blaise came in with a hood and a mask and he barked at him.”

At the end of his talk, Pedersen asked if any of the students had questions about Bane. He started with Blaise.

Deputy Pedersen: “Blaise, you don’t have any questions for me?’

Blaise: “Um, can you bring a helicopter?”

Deputy Pedersen: “You want me to bring a helicopter to school?’

Students: “Yes, please…”

Blaise petting.jpg
Rachel Keith
Blaise petting Bane; they've formed a close relationship over the past couple of years.

After we left the classroom, Pedersen describes his relationship with Bane who’s become a part of his family.

“It’s amazing. I’ve been a cop for twenty-six years, never did I realize ... I knew the bond was special, but you don’t realize how special the dog is until you’re with them every day,” said Pedersen.

And on some of those days, Bane does some tough police work. There was one case back in 2016, he was with a different handler then, where he found a young girl who had been kidnapped and left in a forest, tied to a tree. Lieutenant Jerry Brewer remembers how long it took Bane to find her.

“I knew he was on the ground not long before he found her, from being on the ground and finding her, thirty minutes maybe,” said Brewer.

And Bane’s still doing his job, sniffing out missing persons. Deputy Pedersen: “Yea, me and him together we’ve found about eight or nine people, you know the people go missing, they’ll get picked up or we’ll get to a spot, and he’ll lose it, and I’ll say that person got picked up by a car.” Pedersen said he’s often right when that happens.

Rachel Keith
Master Deputy Glen Pedersen and Bane

As Bane continues to visit classrooms in New Hanover County Schools, Brewer says he’d like the community to view Bane and Deputy Pedersen's presence positively: “And the parent will say, ‘I’m going to have him arrest you if you don’t do this', so from the get-go, you’re installing a ‘fear him’ with the kid versus, ‘No, he’s help.’”

Some of Pedersen and Bane’s adventures around the county are documented on social media. Lieutenant Brewer said, “Each handler is different but he and Glen seem to have a real special bond. It’s interesting how Glen has created a social media side of him, which as you can see, he's no shortage of information.”

Deputy Pedersen said he’s happy with the close to 900 friends Bane has online, but “there are people on that Facebook asking if we have ‘meet and greets’; I’m like no it’s a police dog; I’m like really?”

But you might catch a glimpse of Pedersen and Bane patrolling Long Leaf Park at night. Pedersen said they like working overtime.

Rachel is a graduate of UNCW's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in Urban and Regional Policy and Planning. She also received a Master of Education and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French Language & Literature from NC State University. She served as WHQR's News Fellow from 2017-2019. Contact her by email: rkeith@whqr.org or on Twitter @RachelKWHQR