"I found out in the two weeks of training that he's smarter than I am," said Folger, as Aramis sits at his feet.
Southern Hills Kennel, certified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, Bureau of Alcohol and Firearms, and the United States Canine Association according to its Web site, told him Aramis was a quick learner during the 10 weeks of training. Aramis alerts to six different drugs - marijuana, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, crack and Ecstasy. Folger knows all about it after his two-week, 8- to 10-hour day, training course to get certified.
"They sent him home with me the first night," Folger said, admitting he immediately put Aramis in his kennel in the hotel room and stared at him for a while. "I finally let him out, I figured he'd either lick me to death or tear my arms out of my sockets."
Aramis jumped into his lap, Folger said, and the two have been inseparable since.
The difference between Wodan, the department's other drug dog, and this dog is that Aramis can "subdue" - a politically correct term for attack.
"He won't be used to find lost children," Folger said.
And Aramis also knows Dutch.
"Bliven," Folger said, means "stay" in Dutch.
"Well, do you know Dutch?" Folger pointed out.
It's best to have a search and "subdue" dog that everyone is not aware of what you're ordering it to do, he said.
To show off the dog's skills, the sheriff has planted an Altoids can containing a plastic bag full of 16 grams of cocaine. The can is inside another ziplock bag inside a closed drawer. A bag of dried marijuana buds is in another drawer, and a tiny rock of crack inside another plastic bag is in a document holder high on the wall outside an office.
A bright yellow ball gets the dog's attention immediately, and Aramis is adamant about getting hold of it. Folger acts as if he tosses the ball across the room but keeps it in his hand.
He then walks around the room, running a finger over every surface, which Aramis promptly follows with his long snout. When Aramis gets to the desk where the cocaine is hidden, he sniffs the outside of the drawer, then sits and stares intently, without looking away, even when a flash of a camera goes off in his face.
Aramis also finds the marijuana in the other drawer and freezes up again with a stare. Then he finds the crack high up on the wall. After rising up and sniffing the shelf, he sits back down and stares up at the wall, frozen again.
A reporter allows Folger to place the bag of marijuana buds in her purse. Aramis again follows Folger's finger around the room until they get to her. The dog sits up on his back legs, sniffs her purse, then sits down and stares at it.
Outside, Folger shows the black hydrant chew toy he uses for obedience training. Aramis only wants to run and play, but when Folger throws the toy, Aramis waits until told to go get it.
If Aramis leaps to get it and Folger tells him to stop, the dog stops dead in his tracks, turns around and sits by the sheriff's side.
"He's my best friend, but he's a tool, he's equipment," Folger said. "But I wouldn't send him into a situation where I knew he'd get killed."
Folger said if Aramis were killed, the suspect could be charged with the same crime as if they killed a person.
"He's a deputy," Folger said.