By May Hunter

Friends of Iron County Police K9 fundraiser was held at the home of Ree Zaphiropoulos on May 18th. Ree has always been a big part of the K9 program, she has volunteered many, many hours of service to our community. We appreciate her hosting this K9 fundraiser. Cedar City Police and Sheriff’s Department had some demonstration’s to show how K9 are used in action. A helicopter landed with K9 Deputy Jared O’Mealy and Tonka. Tonka is a 3-year-old Mal-Shepherd from Czech Republic. Tonka is dual certified in narcotic detention and patrol. Vehicle Sniff-Trooper James Springer with K9 Nitro. Nitro is a 4-year-old Dutch Shepherd with an orange and black brindle. Nitro is dual certified narcotic detention and patrol. Evidence Search/Tracking Rooster/Sam. Officer Josh Carver had been LEO 19 years. He has worked with K9s his whole career, and has been a handler for over 8 years. Josh is the lead K9 handler for DWR. Josh and his K9s have been called on many incidents over the years and is getting ready to retire K9 Sam. Sam is an 8-year-old Black Lab. Rooster is a 1-year-old Chocolate Lab in training.

Deputy Robert Leiva with K9 Drax in the Iron County Jail. Drax is a 5-Year-old Belgian Malinois from Holland. Drax is dual certified. Officer Jason Hottell with K9 Snitch. Snitch is a 4-year-old German Shepherd. Snitch is dual certified.

Officer Pat McCoy with K9 Badger. Badger is a 1.5-year old shepard mix. Badger is the youngest certified member of the Iron County Metro K9 team. He is a ball of energy. Deputy Eric Roman with K9 Vojak. Vojak is a 6-year-old German Shepherd from Holland. Deputy Rohmann and Vojak are the SWAT K9 team.
Iron County Friends of Police K9 is a 501c that was originally founded to help local Police K9 handers take care of their dogs after the dog had retired. Most handlers like to keep their dogs when agencies retire a dog. However, there are expenses like vet bills, food and other items that can be expensive. The K9 organization steps in and pays for the dog food and medical expenses, etc., so that the handler doesn’t have to worry about paying for them.

Because police departments have budgetary constraints they can’t always provide all the necessary training or safety equipment that a canine team could use. They have departments submit requests to them and the board decides if it is something that they can support. If they agree to help, they ask the department to also invest in the item requested and they will help purchase the item.

They also help provide training opportunities to the handlers. We seek out the best training available in the country and help provide this training opportunity to the handers.

The organization has sponsored getting a Police K9 memorial at the Cedar City Cemetery. This memorial honors all Police K9s that have served in Iron County. They are also helping the local handlers build a training facility.

These dogs are not only our best friends, they embody what’s best about us-the courage, and heart of a true warriors.

The board is made up of active and retired law enforcement K9 officers that represent the local agencies. The board also has board members who are local citizens who care deeply about law enforcement and particularly K9 officers and their dogs. Without their dedication and the generous contributions of the many citizens of our community they wouldn’t be able to accomplish all the things they are doing.

“When you walk in front of me, I shall always have your back, When you walk behind me, I shall always be willing to lay down my life for you. And so long as you walk beside me, I shall always call you my brother.”-K9


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