Meet Clayton’s Newest K-9 Team

Officer Victoria Lee became known around Clayton as the singing cop this past October after a video of her singing a duet with a musician from a local church went viral on social media. Now she’s taking on a completely different title – Officer Lee completed training last month to become Clayton’s newest K-9 Officer.

Officer Lee and her K-9 Raven successfully completed a rigorous eight-week training program through NC K9 training school in Four Oaks. They will now become certified through the International Police Work Dog Association (IPWDA).

Raven, a four-year-old German Shephard, has been a police dog for two years. She previously was assigned with former K-9 handler Tyler McNeil.

Officer Lee said that McNeil was her training officer when she first joined the department in February of 2019, so she had time to get to know Raven. She has since formed a “best friend bond” with her partner.

Even though she is an animal lover, Officer Lee said she had one reservation about become a K-9 officer. “My biggest fear was ‘what if I take on take on a K-9 and something happens to her and I lose her?’ But after talking with other officers and trainers I’m not afraid of that anymore,” Lee said. “It’s her job. She lives for that. We are trained, and I’m not going to send her in to something that she can’t handle.”

Raven is a multipurpose patrol dog, which means that she is trained in apprehension, narcotics and tracking. And, although North Carolina does not require that the dogs be certified, Officer Lee said Clayton PD holds its K-9 teams to a higher standard.

She explained that the certification “solidifies” a dog’s training and makes court testimony in cases involving a K-9 team more credible.

Lee and Raven do more than just work together, they are partners 24/7. “Whenever I’m on duty, Raven is on duty,” Lee said. “But she knows that she’s not working when her collar comes off.”

Lee is a graduate of the Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) program at Johnston Community College. She is the first in her family to go into law enforcement.

“I remember coming in contact with Clayton police officers over the years. It was always a positive experience. My dad lived behind the old police station and knew the officers,” she said.

Lee and Raven are one of three K-9 teams in the Clayton K-9 Unit. Officers Jamie Brantley and his partner Abel and Officer Will Carter and his partner Eli work and train together with Officer Lee and Raven.

Raven is a social dog, Lee said. “She’s very well trained, and she was awesome throughout our training. I learned so much and we had a lot of fun. I’m excited to watch her grow.”