This might be an odd first, but we'd like to congratulate Buzz on his recent retirement and welcome his replacement, Drax.
Yes, they're dogs. But not just any dogs. These are "K9 officers" under the Jefferson City Police Department.
Buzz served the department for more than eight years, starting with simple obedience training and commands and moving into suspect apprehension, handler protection, tracking/lost persons and narcotic detection.
Eight years is typically the upper limit of the length of service for a K9. As we recently reported, a dog used for patrol — where physical confrontations are more frequent and injuries more common — typically can work about five years.
On his second day of duty, Buzz helped make felony drug finds. Since then, he recovered multiple pounds of methamphetamine and marijuana and helped with numerous heroin and cocaine seizures. Buzz was also responsible for the recovery of thousands of dollars of currency. He was deployed approximately 650 times during his career, including 50 successful tracks, and he has been entered into the North American Police Work Dog Association honor roll.
Since his retirement, Buzz has been adopted by another JCPD staff member.
His replacement is Drax, a German shepherd born in Hungary who also helped take a suspect into custody on his second day on the job.
JCPD officers recently chased a suspect to the 200 block of Dawson Street, where the driver fled from the vehicle. Officers found the driver lying against the side of a home, but he failed to follow their commands. Drax was deployed and eventually helped officers take the suspect — who was later treated for a bite to his ankle — into custody.
Dogs have senses and talents that humans don't, making them ideal partners with law enforcement. We commend Buzz and Drax and the entire program for providing tangible crime-fighting results over the years.