TUCSON, Ariz. - A Tucson Police Department K9 is retiring after more than five years with the department.
K9 Bolt had his last shift on Monday with his handler Officer Barrie Pedersen.
The 7-year-old K9 is ending his time with TPD with impressive stats:
- 282 assisted arrests
- 64 SWAT operations
- 800+ deployments
- 129 suspect finds
Officer Pedersen says one of the most memorable calls with Bolt was from May 2018 during a home invasion in midtown Tucson. Several armed suspects broke into an apartment, and Bolt helped catch them.
"He got three out of five of the home invasion suspects in one call," Officer Pedersen said. "I thought that was a pretty good night's work."
Couple hours into #K9Bolts last shift and we’re patrolling our favorite neighborhood. I’ve been working Grant & Alvernon since I was a rookie. 14 years later I know it like the back of my hand. #lastshift pic.twitter.com/9ugcOZgY79— Ofc Pedersen & K9 Bolt (@ofc_pedersen) February 4, 2019
Pending SWAT or K9 callouts in the next couple of days, Officer Pedersen says Bolt will retire with his family at home. Pedersen says he thinks Bolt will miss working, but also sees the K9 "quickly getting used to hanging out in the living room and enjoying the night with the family."
Bolt loves the pool. Pedersen says boys in their neighborhood come by to throw the ball around with Bolt around the pool. And that's not the only way the Tucson community has shown love for Bolt. About 1 year ago, Pedersen says he got approval to make the accounts that Tucsonans have enjoyed. Pedersen says, "the public has really responded to stuff we've posted as a unit and stuff I've posted about Bolt. They seem to really enjoy it and we enjoy being able to do it."
When asked how K9s are important to the Tucson Police Department, Pedersen had a 2-part answer. First, he believes they are vital tactical response tool. For example, the K9 can detect when someone is hiding nearby. Secondly, Pedersen says K9's serve as a conduit to the community. He says anytime he goes out, on a regular day, people just come up to the duo and love talking to Bolt. He says, "those are contacts with the community that we may not have otherwise." Pedersen says the dog bridges that gap.
All in all, Pedersen says K9s "from a community relations standpoint and a tactical standpoint, the dogs are priceless."
Although K9 Bolt is ready to retire in the next few days, Officer Pedersen is still serving the Tucson community. In the next week or so, he says "I'll be working with a new dog." But Pedersen wasn't allowed to reveal which K9 will be his new partner.