CLAYTON, NC – Officer Victoria Lee and K9 Raven form an unstoppable and unique team. Lee is Clayton Police Department’s first female K9 handler, and together, Lee and Raven form the department’s first female K9 Unit team.
Raven, lovingly nicknamed Mama Ray, is a full-blooded German Shepherd from Holland. The 4-year-old K9 understands commands in Dutch and English.
Lee and Raven have trained together for a year, and they have been best friends from the start.
Lee said choosing to work as a K9 handler was difficult, but it is the best decision she has ever made. Lee has a big heart for animals which made her apprehensive when joining the K9 unit. She often worries about the danger that Raven might face while on duty, but Raven’s training has proven to be sufficient. Raven’s experience reassures Lee of her abilities and intelligence.
Lee and Raven trained together through the NC K9 eight-week training program. During the course, Lee and Raven trained under NC K9 owner and lead instructor Jim O’Brien, who helped them sharpen their skills. Raven was trained in apprehension, tracking, and narcotics detection.
Recently, Raven was requested by narcotics detectives to do a parcel sniff.
“A package was believed to be carrying illegal narcotics, and Raven was able to alert and confirm the parcel in question,” said Lee. “After all proper channels were gone through, Raven’s alert signaled them to open the package. We found a pound of marijuana inside.”
An average day at work for Lee and Raven consists of a 12-hour shift. Lee stops at least six times to let Raven out so she can stretch her legs and play. The team usually responds to alarm calls and car calls. Because Raven is considered an independent officer, Lee can respond to calls with just her K9 as a backup.
Just like other officers, Raven knows how to differentiate between being on and off duty. On their days off, Lee lets Raven enjoy being just a normal dog. Raven takes full advantage of this and will spend most of the day chasing her tail or bunnies outside.