Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Deputy Victor Barr and Sampson the new K9 officer. Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department photo

Cats and criminals take note: Androscoggin County has a new deputy dog.

The Sheriff’s Department has taken on a young Czechoslovakian shepherd as the agency’s newest officer. The dog, who is off to K9 training with his handler, is named Sampson in honor of popular Sheriff’s Deputy Dennis Sampson, who died in the spring of 2018.

Sampson comes as a package deal. He’ll be partnered with Deputy Victor Barr, who has done a little bit of everything with the department since coming on board in 2008. It was Barr who chose the dog’s name in honor of his fallen colleague.

In a few weeks, Barr and Sampson will be off to the academy together for training. Sampson isn’t much for talking, but one thing Barr made clear up front is that the pair will be together almost constantly as they launch their new careers.

“I think a lot of people have a common misconception about these working dogs,” Barr said. “It’s important for them to know they are VERY well cared for and very much loved both at work and at home. I think a lot of people don’t realize the dogs live with their handler 24/7 for their entire life. We will spend more time together than I will with my family!”

Sampson, the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office’s new K9 officer, is a Czechoslovakian shepherd. Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Department

We had other questions about the county’s answer to “Turner and Hooch.” Barr answers them below.

Does Sampson live with you? Yes. He has been with me since the day we picked him up from the kennel facility in Pennsylvania. He has become very fond of his new home and is great with my family. He has gone to work with me every day since I brought him home.

Have you always been a dog person? I grew up with dogs and have had a dog pretty much my entire life. We currently have a dog in our home (Macy). She is a 6-year-old pitbull/lab mix.

What’s Samson like? Sampson is a 14-month-old Czechoslovakian shepherd or Czech shepherd. He is 89 pounds and growing! He came to the U.S. from Holland on Jan. 30. We visited Shallow Creek Kennels in Pennsylvania on Feb. 5 and chose him after testing many other dogs. At first I was slightly intimidated by his size, but had a bond with him almost immediately. He has very high drive and wants to work and play all hours of the day. We have bonded very well so far and it’s safe to say we have both become attached. He likes to play with anything he can get into his mouth including many shredded cardboard boxes and a few binders in the office. He does not like getting a bath and does not like when I’m not within sight.

When are the two of you off to school? We will begin 14 weeks of training with the Maine State Police K9 Unit at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy starting March 16. Upon being certified as a team we will attend 10 weeks of drug school where Sampson will be trained to detect the odor of numerous illegal narcotics.

What does the training for this entail? During training, the trainers will teach me how to train Sampson the following: obedience, agility, tracking for missing or wanted persons, searching for evidence/articles that may have been discarded in a field or other areas, handler protection, apprehension of violent suspects and seeking out violent suspects hidden inside buildings.

How long have you been with the ASO? I started with ASO in 2008 as a corrections officer. In 2010 I was hired as a reserve patrol deputy. In 2012 I accepted a full-time position in the Communications Center where I worked answering and dispatching 911 calls until 2016, when I was hired as a full-time patrol deputy. I graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy (32nd Basic Law Enforcement Training Program) May of 2017.

Do you have a favorite cop dog movie? I don’t have a favorite cop dog movie, but my family and I have been watching a lot of “Top Dog” on A&E!

So, what happens after you and Sampson graduate? Upon being certified as a K9 team we hope to attend several community events, perform public demonstrations and visit various schools within Androscoggin County.


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