County mourns loss of Sheriff’s K-9 Flash

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CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — Sheriff Gary Schaffer announced that Sheriff’s K-9 Flash died on July 20. Flash was partnered with Corrections Officer Russ Norcross and together they responded to calls to search and clear areas for explosives. Flash’s death appears to be heat related.

“Officer Norcross was working Saturday cleaning the K-9 kennels and tending to the K-9 dogs there. Both Flash and his other K-9 partner, Olly, a bloodhound, were in a fenced in yard outside the building. Both dogs had been outside for approximately 30 minutes. When Officer Norcross called the dogs, Olly was barking in the direction of the marsh area and he heard K-9 Flash whine. Flash was taken directly to Ocean View Veterinary Hospital where medical treatment was conducted, but Flash’s condition could not be reversed,” Schaffer said.

Prior to the incident, Olly, Flash and Norcross were preparing to go to the 4-H Fair for demonstrations.

Flash was a 6-year-old mixed breed Belgian malinois-collie and had been in service and partnered with Norcross for five years. They both completed training and continued explosive training at the Cape May County Sheriff’s K-9 Training Academy, Atlantic County John “Sonny” Burke K-9 Academy, Delaware River Bay Authority K-9 Unit and the New Jersey State Police K-9 Unit.

During their career together, Norcross and Flash conducted over 175 searches for explosives such as threats to schools, shopping centers and medical buildings. They provided explosive security for events in Cape May County including the Escape the Cape Triathlon, Wounded Warrior Triathlon in Sea Isle, Fireman’s Convention in Wildwood, festivals in North Wildwood, DRBA and TSA operations, and at the US Coast Guard Training Center in Cape May.

They also participated in community events like DARE graduations, Boy Scout demonstrations, National Night Out, 4-H fairs and Lunch with Lynch for the Wildwood schools.

“Officer Norcross will continue with his K-9 partner Olly as we look to replace Flash with another K-9 for explosive detection. This will be a costly and lengthy training process for our K-9 team, but it is imperative we move forward with a second explosive detection K-9 team. Flash was a great working K-9 and will be sadly missed,” Schaffer said.

The Sheriff’s Office currently has one explosive detection K-9 team and is also a member of the New Jersey State Police Detect and Render Safe Task Force through Homeland Security.

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