By Tamas Mondovics
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has plenty to be proud of and has no shortage of heroes found within the agency’s various special divisions, including deputies that make up its K-9 unit.
One such local hero is retired K-9 Master Deputy Charlotte Raschke, a 27-year law enforcement veteran; she is the only female deputy who has served the community for the past 15 years on HCSO’s K-9 unit.
Prior to joining HCSO in 1990, Raschke served the Plant City Police department for three years. Her dream of joining the K-9 Unit and to later become an expert handler and trainer was realized in 2002.
A Riverview resident, Raschke began her career in Detention Services and worked all phases of patrol, street crimes, crime prevention, property detective and the K9 unit.
After partnering with four dogs she looks back on the past decade with no regrets.
“Being on the K9 unit requires you to get dirty, which I don’t mind,” she said during a phone interview while working with rescue dogs in Puerto Rico following the recent storms.
“To be successful, this job has to be in your blood,” she said adding, “each call takes you right in the front lines and no matter what, your partner will never leave you. You can not ask for more than that.”
Before retiring, Raschke’s partners included Deputy Dagger, a German Shepherd narcotics dog who won the 2013 “K9 Officer Photo Contest” and an explosive detection Border Collie named Lucy.
“These dogs will sacrifice themselves for you,” Raschke said, adding that it is one of the main reasons why all deputy canines end up as their handler’s pets after retiring.”
A dog joins the Sheriff’s Office when it is between 1-3 years old, and must complete 420 hours of training with its handler/deputy to be certified as a law enforcement canine.
Raschke’s sibling, Cheryl Stanbro spoke highly of her sisters’s nearly three decades of law enforcement accomplishments, hard work and dedication to serve and protect her community as a K-9 Master Deputy.
Raschke was twice awarded the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, the Deputy of the Quarter, and has received four life saving awards.
“I am honored to have her as my sister,” Cheryl said. “She is definitely my hero.”
For more information about the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, please visit www.hcso.tampa.fl.us.