Salem police department have announced that two of their K9 officers, K9 Baco and K9 Jake have officially retired after both serving four years of service to the community earlier this week.
SALEM (NJ): According to officials, K-9 Baco, a German Shepherd from the Netherlands, was first certified in 2013 to work for the Salem Police Department. Baco was full of energy and loved to work every day according to his handler, Sgt. Trevor Morrisson. This four-legged officer is best known for his role during a standoff between a wanted felon and officers in the parking lot of a local Walmart in 2014. “The subject was armed and Baco was sent in to apprehend him, recalled Deputy Chief Steve Bellshaw. “Although Baco suffered a gunshot wound to the face, he was back on duty in less than two weeks,” he added. Baco received a Medal of Valor from the agency and also from the Oregon Peace Officers Association. Baco deployed to more than 600 incidents in his career and has nearly 300 captures to his credit.
Shot in the face in 2014, K9 Baco was back on duty within two weeks
K-9 Jake is German Shepherd from the Czech Republic. Jake certified and started with the department in the same year as Baco, 2013. With more than 600 deployments in his police career, Jake apprehended over 400 subjects.
Each of the animals is retiring for medical reasons. Baco was injured during the search for an object this past summer and re-injured the same leg again in the following weeks. It was then discovered his injury would prohibit the furry crime-fighter from returning to normal duty.
Jake is retiring due to a degenerative disease in his lower back. Jake’s handler, Officer Matt Gill, shared Jake’s last deployment,
“The suspect dragged Jake for approximately 30 feet when the suspect spun around and displayed a firearm. Jake was able to pull the suspect to the ground making it possible for me to take the suspect into custody.” Unfortunately, due to the advancement of the disease, the physical nature of his last deployment put too much strain on Jake’s body and he could not return to duty.
“All of our K-9s are special,” said Bellshaw, “but these two dogs have great personalities and are well known in the department and in the community.” The departure of two dogs will be felt greatly. Baco and Jake enjoyed opportunities to do demonstrations with the public. Morrison noted that Baco could identify the photographer in the crowd and pose at hearing the word “smile.” Jake was also well known for presentations and enjoyed those with children who wanted to pet him. Added Gill, “It was incredible to watch Jake go from a tenacious suspect-chaser to a social butterfly in an instant.”
Both dogs will live their retirement life with their respective handlers.
Regrettably, the department may also have to retire a third police dog in the coming months, so efforts to raise monies are underway under the leadership of the Salem Police Foundation. Said Bellshaw, “This fundraising project is particularly important as the funds are for the purchase of the animals, as well as for the joint training of the dog and the officer who will be their handler.”
Fundraising is not the only project the police foundation is undertaking as the organization will also be holding a retirement party for the dogs in January at a local venue. Current Salem Police Foundation President Dan Wellert remarked, “We are proud to support our local police department and are ready to help in every way.”
Details on the retirement party will be shared as the date approaches. In the meantime, those wishing to make a donation to the police K-9 fund can contact the Salem Police Foundation at www.salempolicefoundation.org. Gifts are tax deductible as the police foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.