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Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Sergeant Steve Armstrong Retires


Honoring 25 years of service, Sheriff Jerry L. Clayton hosted a retirement gathering to celebrate the career of Sergeant Steve Armstrong on Friday, August 21st, 2015.

Sgt. Armstrong RetirementSgt. Armstrong RetiresSgt. Armstrong began his career as a Reserve Police Officer with the Redford Township Police Department in 1986.  Upon successful completion of pre-service basic police training at the Detroit Metropolitan Police Academy in June 1989, he worked for a brief period of time as a Police Officer with the South Lyon Police Department before beginning his 25 year career with the Sheriff’s Office, April 2nd, 1990.

Having served in a variety of capacities throughout his career with the Sheriff’s Office, Steve found his passion in becoming a police service dog (PSD) handler in September of 1993.  He was promoted to Sergeant in January of 2002.  In his over twenty years (20) years of experience as a police service dog handler, Sgt. Armstrong has had the honor of serving with three (3) outstanding PSD’s.

  • PSD Rocky, a Dutch Malinois, served as a patrol and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) dog.

Rocky made entry into buildings with known barricaded perpetrators prior to entry of SWAT and was an exceptional tracker.  He once located a hat dropped by a fleeing suspect under at least a foot of water.

  • PSD Carlo, a German Shepherd Dog, served as a patrol and drug detection dog.

Carlo, also an exceptional tracker, located numerous suspects including armed felons.  He once located an injured, developmentally disabled young man in a pouring thunderstorm after numerous searching firefighters were unable to locate him.

  • PSD Bary, a German Shepherd Dog now retired, served as a patrol and explosive detection dog.

In 2012, Bary tracked three (3) armed robbery suspects from one apartment complex, over several blocks of varied surfaces, to the second floor of another apartment complex.  He located the suspects in a second floor room. All three (3) were arrested and eventually sentenced to prison for armed robbery.

Bary is one of the few explosive detection dogs to earn the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) National Odor Recognition Test (NORT) certification, a very demanding, invitation only national certification.

Bary was a recognized presence at the players “tunnel” into Michigan Stadium on football game days for years.  He was routinely requested for explosive detection sweeps at major events including by way of example, the American League Divisional Series playoffs at Comerica Park and the Detroit International Auto Show at Cobo Center.

All three dogs operated at a high level receiving numerous commendations from the Sheriff’s Office and external organizations and appeared regularly at community events and schools participating in presentations regarding the value of police service dogs. 

Throughout his career, Sergeant Armstrong’s primary assignment has been patrol and patrol supervision.  He is the current Regional President of the United States Police Canine Association and serves a Police Dog Judge for certification events under the USPCA.  In addition to working with police service dogs, his instructor credentials include a variety of law enforcement disciplines, e.g., firearms instructor, use of force instructor, SWAT instructor, etc.  During his tenure with the Sheriff’s Office, he served in several special units that focused on specific crimes and/or areas of the county as may have been required at the time.

Residing in Western Washtenaw County, Steve plans to stay involved in police service dog activity through his affiliation with the USPCA and the Sheriff’s Office as a retiree.


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