In his seven years with the Colorado Springs Police Department, TJ logged more than 3,400 calls for service. He tracked down 45 suspects and found illegal narcotics with an estimated street value of $1.2 million. Before he retired, he also recovered property valued at $67,000. TJ is one of four "officers" that the department updated the public about on Wednesday. The 11 year old Dutch Shepherd -- described as one of CSPD's "Hero K-9s" -- is now a family pet.
There are others. Boris, also a Dutch Shepherd, was with the department for 9 years. In 2005, Boris was the second place finisher in the United States Police Canine Association's Region 14 PD-1 trials, the department reported. After being forced into immediate retirement this past spring due to a diagnosis of throat cancer, Boris passed away in September.
10-year-old Cole also recently passed away due to cancer. But during his time with the department, he handled 5,455 calls for service. He located 107 suspects, including three murder suspects. According to the department, he also found 2 kilos of heroin, 4 kilos of cocaine, 1 kilo of meth, and pounds of marijuana. Additionally, he recovered $75,000 in U.S. currency and over $240,000 of property resulting from search warrants.
Gunnar, who joined the department in 2007, was responsible for 90 felony arrests and 21 misdemeanor arrests. He endured shoulder replacement surgeries in 2009 and was able to recover fully and return to the department. In 2012, as he was pursuing a suspect across a field, he tore the ligaments in his hind legs and was forced into early retirement. He now lives with his trainer as a pet.
The Colorado Springs Police Canine Unit was started in 1986, with training and funding for two handler teams from an FAA program at the airport. As of 2013, there were 10 handler teams with the department. Handlers and their canine partners must undergo 440 hours of training that includes field obedience, building search, field search, handler protection and physical apprehension before they begin handling calls for service.