K9s play a unique role in law enforcement. They can be used on patrol, SWAT units, narcotics and bomb units—to search for missing persons, detect drugs, track suspects and much more. To highlight these important members of many departments, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite K9 news items so far this year.
Together is better
In February a duo from the Columbus Division of Police in Ohio made headlines with some unique news. In a Facebook post to followers, the Columbus Division of Police wished “Happy Tails to You” to Officer Bill Dorsey and his K9 partner Camile who were retiring together. “It’s not often that one of our K9 retires and it really isn’t often when a K9 and its partner retire together!” the post said. Dorsey had been with the Columbus Division of Police for almost 30 years, the last 15 in canine. Camile, 8-years-old, had been with Dorsey and the Division since 2009. See image 1 above.
A Florida K9 by the name of Casper took a bullet for his handler earlier this year. In May, K9 Casper with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office was shot above one of his back legs during a standoff. The bullet missed vital organs and was removed during surgery at Palm Beach Veterinary Specialists, according to PalmBeachPost.com. “He definitely did his job,” Cpl. John Sylvester, Casper’s handler, said during a news conference. “When the rounds came, it was meant for a group of us. Unfortunately, he was the one that took the round.” Casper survived the shootout.
A bucket-list dream
In Newport, Ky., a terminally ill German shepherd checked one goal off of his bucket-list by becoming an honorary K9 officer thanks to the Newport Police Department. Inside Edition reports that “Lt. Dan”, a rescue dog from Dayton Paw Patrol, was diagnosed with a deadly disease that affects his nerve function. The Newport Police Department presented Lt. Dan with his own vest and a certificate.
A K9 career change
One K9 gained international attention earlier this year when he flunked out of police dog academy for being too sociable. According to a press release from the office of the Governor of Queensland (Australia), Gavel, a German shepherd pup preparing to become a police dog, hung up his Queensland Police Service coat and began official duties in a newly created position as the Governor’s Vice-Regal Dog last February after failing to complete police dog training “owing to his friendly and courteous disposition.” Gavel’s official duties now include welcoming tour groups, attending functions with the Governor and attending formal ceremonies.
A lovable crime-fighter
The bond between an officer and a K9 is sometimes undeniable. That’s the case for Officer Levi Knach of Indiana DNR Law Enforcement District 2 and his K9 partner Kenobi. During a portrait attempt earlier this year, K9 Kenobi took his eyes off the camera to show his partner some love. The Indiana State Parks Department shared images of the duo on Facebook, stating, “Kenobi is cute, but make no mistake—he is a trained, working officer and can track people and locate a variety of objects ranging from venison to ginseng. We are grateful for the work that our ICOs do all over the state to protect and serve people and to conserve our fish and wildlife resources.” See image 2 above.
To the rescue
K9 Jett came to the rescue earlier this summer. About a half-hour after a man was reported missing from a long-term healthcare facility, the West Hartford (Conn.) Police Department K9 found the man in a wooded area close to the facility, reports the Hartford Courant. The man was found alert but confused, with minor injuries.
Guarding the Windy City
The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation launched the Chicago K9s for Cops public art campaign, a public art installation around Chicago, Ill., featuring more than 100 life-size statues of German shepherd Police Dogs that are each artistically designed by local artists. “The campaign was conceived to memorialize our city’s heroes while supporting the families of police officers that have been killed or catastrophically injured in the line of duty,” according to the organization’s website. All profits from the auction will benefit the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and PAWS Chicago. All K9s were on display in the Magnificent Mile District from July 23rd through Labor Day. See image 3 above
New life as a K9
The Tukwila (Wash.) Police Department gained international attention earlier this year when they introduced their newest K9, Apollo, who was originally abandoned, sent to a shelter and about to be euthanized. Before being euthanized, however, the shelter called a Washington State narcotics K9 trainer who thought Apollo would make a great narcotics K9. “Unfortunately, Apollo had to wait another 12 months as one dog after another was selected over him by other officers who were going through narcotics school and wouldn’t give him a chance,” the department wrote on its Facebook page. “No one would give him a chance simply because he was a pit bull, who often have bad reputations based on misconceptions and lack of training.” Apollo finished narcotics school last November, the department wrote. “He is extremely friendly and can often be found trying to get us to play with him. He has brought great joy to all of us at the department in addition to being a very productive and hard worker.” See image 4 above.