K-9 Osman "Ozzie" Steele makes his first arrest

Above: Deputy John Demeo and K-9 Osman "Ozzie" Steele, the Delaware County Sheriff's Office's newest drug law enforcement team. Ozzie is the namesake of a famous Catskills officer of the law: Undersheriff Osman Steele, who was the only casualty of the Anti-Rent War in Andes, shot by protesting tenant farmers on August 7, 1845. Photo courtesy of the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.

Just one day out of the academy, Delaware County's newest "officer" was already making arrests.

Osman "Ozzie" Steele, a young German shepherd who recently joined the Delaware County Sheriff's Office, graduated from K-9 Narcotics Detection School on Friday, September 6, along with his human crimefighting partner John Demeo. Just over 24 hours later, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, Ozzie and Demeo made their first arrest: A drug bust in the village of Walton. 

According to police, the duo assisted in a traffic stop on Townsend Street around 1:20 am on September 8. Village of Walton police officers made the traffic stop, saw marijuana on the center console in the vehicle, and called in the K-9 team to do a search. In a search of the car, Ozzie and Demeo found several glassine envelopes of heroin. 

Three local residents had the dubious honor of being Ozzie's first arrests: 24-year-old Anthony Palladino of Walton, 22-year-old Troy Terney of Walton, and 21-year-old Melissa Dacey of Delhi. The three were charged with marijuana possession (a violation) and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree (a misdemeanor). Palladino and Dacey were also charged with criminal use of drug paraphernalia in the second degree, a misdemeanor. All were arrested by Village of Walton police and issued appearance tickets for Village of Walton court.

The use and sale of illegal drugs and prescription narcotics is on the rise in Delaware County, said undersheriff Craig DuMond, who recently told local officials at a county Board of Supervisors meeting that between 2011 and 2012, the department's arrests and criminal investigations rose dramatically

DuMond said that he expects Delaware County's new drug-sniffing team to stay busy. 

"I'm expecting, based on the level of drug activity we have in the county, that the team will be very busy," DuMond said. "You're going to see a lot of them out there."

Correction, 9/16: According to Walton police, Troy Terney was not charged with criminal use of drug paraphernalia, as an earlier release from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office stated. We have corrected the story above.