Wednesday the Idaho Falls Police Department and the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office celebrated the retirement of two special officers, K9 Zeke and K9 Bart.
Zeke has been with IFPD for nine years; Bart has been with the BCSO for 10 years.
Zeke was a dual-purpose dog, trained in explosive detection and apprehending criminals. He and his handler Officer Jeanette Johnson worked closely with the Idaho Falls Bonneville County Regional Bomb Squad.
With Zeke’s retirement Officer Johnson will also be stepping down from the IFPD K9 Division after 16 years. She previously handled K9 Kira.
“I wouldn’t have traded any of it,” Johnson said. “It made the job more enjoyable, and I always knew I had my back-up partner with me.”
Zeke will be replaced in the coming months with another dog trained in explosive detection and criminal apprehension.
K9 Bart joined the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office in 2005 he was a dual-purpose dog trained in narcotic detection and criminal apprehension. Bart was partnered with BCSO Deputy Sgt. Chris Smith.
“He’s assisted with a large amount of drugs being taken off the streets and a lot of criminals being taken into custody,” Smith said. “The K9 program is a valid asset to the city and the county and it’s an asset that should be continued.”
With the retirement of Bart, Deputy Smith will be stepping down from the BCSO K9 Division.
Also on Wednesday the Idaho Falls Police Department announced it has a new four-legged, tail-wagging officer on the force.
Rocky is a 1 1/2-year-old, tan-colored, Belgian Malinois trained in both narcotic detection and patrol apprehension. His handler is Officer Gabe Klepich.
Rocky joins IFPD thanks to funding provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy Idaho Site-Wide Safeguards and Security Program.
“K9s play an important role in our police department,” Patrol Capt. Royce Clemets said. “They’re excellent in helping us find and detect drugs, apprehend criminals and improve officer safety. We’re really grateful for the DOE-ID in helping us fund an important piece of our operations.”
The DOE funding paid $15,000 to the police department, which goes toward the purchase, training and certification of Rocky and his handler. Rocky and Officer Klepich are currently working the streets.