BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office has a new deputy ready to sniff out crime.

“Hoover” is a 14-month-old bloodhound tracking dog specializing in criminal and rescue tracking.

The new K-9 deputy has been assigned to Deputy K. Hall and will be crucial in locating missing seniors and children, as well as suspects and fugitives.

“His nose is way stronger than patrols so he can go on and do a track and find people, whether it’s mental health like a rescue situation on criminal track,” explained Hall. “That’s what Hoover is for.”

(Photo: Amanda Lee/WFXR News)

Bedford County Sheriff Mike Miller says in the last year, there’s been an increase in missing person cases involving residents with mental disorders.

According to the sheriff, these are situations with which Hoover is trained to help. He adds that Hoover will help cut down on response times.

“It would take sometimes an hour and a half to two hours just to have a bloodhound respond to Bedford County. Now, we’re down to 45 minutes as a response time,” said Miller.

Hoover was donated to the sheriff’s office by the Find’m Friends organization out of Crystal River, Florida.

Hoover and Hall were trained in Florida by head trainer Linda Boles and recently arrived in Bedford County before their first day of work on Monday, Jan. 24.

(Photo: Amanda Lee/WFXR News)

The next thing authorities plan to do with Hoover is introduce him to Bedford County community members who might need him one day. The sheriff’s office plans to bring Hoover to events when it gets warmer.

“They’ll see that if they do go missing, that Hoover is a friendly animal and Hoover will be able to help them,” said Miller.

If you or a loved one could benefit from meeting Hoover, you can call the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office at 540-586-4800 to schedule a meet and greet.