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Meet the University of North Georgia's first K9 police officer, Rex
12062022 K9 REX
Officer Dustin Singleton stands with UNG’s newest police force member, K9 Rex. (photo courtesy of UNG)

The University of North Georgia now has a K9 police officer on its force, a 2-year-old German Shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix named Rex. 

According to a press release by the university, Rex joined the UNG police force back in October and will assist other agencies as needed. His partner, Officer Dustin Singleton, described him as “sweet, loves everyone and wants to work all the time”. 

“He’s a sergeant,” Singleton said in the release. “He outranks me.” 

UNG acquired the new K9 officer through a partnership with the Georgia Emergency Management Association (GEMA), with the assistance of Hall County Deputy Scott Lord and Tod Keys, exercise program director for GEMA/Homeland Security. Rex will train along the K9 officers in the Hall County Sheriff’s Office. 

The dog was acquired through GEMA at no cost to the university,” UNG Police Chief Greg Williams said in the release. “His certification and ongoing certification will also not cost UNG anything.” 

During Rex’s first week on campus at UNG, he and Singleton adjusted to one another and their new duties, toured the campus, got to know the students and met UNG President Bonita Jacobs. The top priority for the pair, the release said, is to protect the university’s students. 

“He works for the university. Student safety is his first priority,” Singleton said in the release. “As soon as he’s in the patrol car, he knows he’s on duty.” 

The pair underwent weeks of explosive device training including Jekyll Island and the Georgia Capitol, the release said. Rex will search the UNG Convocation Center prior to major events, and the pair will also work throughout the state, including doing pre-concert explosive detection at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. 

“We wanted to have a dog that would be friendly around students. That’s the top priority,” Singleton said in the release. “Also, every commencement we pay for someone to come in and do a bomb search of the Convocation Center. Instead of having to call people, we now have our own team, which makes it easier. We’re getting to be the same size as larger units, so we want to make sure we’re keeping up.”