K9 Will Be Adopted by Handler, Officer Terry Endries
After seven years of fighting crime, Marshfield Police K9 “H” is set to retire.
H will turn in his badge in October and enjoy his retirement at home with handler, Officer Terry Endries. The K9 first joined the department in July 2011 at age 2 ½.
Last winter, H experienced age-related knee issues that made it difficult for him to climb in and out of the patrol vehicle. While the issue went away once the weather warmed, it was clear that the K9 was nearing retirement. He will be ten in mid-October.
“I don’t mind retiring him a little early,” said Endries. “Let him have a few years as a pet, and spoil him a little bit.”
Despite his age, H shows no sign of slowing down quite yet. His endless, puppy-like energy means he’s often mistaken for being half his age. It also makes it clear he’s not meant to be an indoor pet, despite several attempts. “Each time, he runs around and tries to eat the couch,” Endries explained.
In the meantime, the Dutch Shepherd spends his remaining working days in the kennel of his handler’s patrol vehicle, ready for action.
“Normally he just hangs out with me while I do my normal patrol stuff,” Endries said. “Whenever I’m working, he’s working.”
Trained in Germany and at Vohne Liche Kennels in Indiana, H is able to perform criminal apprehensions, building and area searches, evidence recovery, tracking, handler protection, and narcotics detection. The chosen handler spends 5-6 weeks getting used to working with the K9, training 16 hours a month to make sure procedures are followed correctly and getting certified once a year. Endries also learned about half a dozen Dutch commands.
H’s bark, worse than his bite, has been an invaluable asset on many occasions, helping break up fights and draw suspects out of houses. “When we go to bar fights, and we have a large group of people, all I have to do is roll down my window because H is back there barking.”
Most of H’s work as a police K9 has involved drugs. He is able to detect the odors from marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and derivatives during traffic stops, school locker checks, and more.
“He has done a phenomenal job curbing the heroin epidemic in Marshfield,” said Endries. Whether it was detecting a record 80 grams of heroin or over 11 pounds of marijuana, H has been invaluable for getting drugs off the street.
H’s arrival seven years ago marked the first time the police department had two working dogs at the same time, allowing more coverage and helping to curb drugs. “By having a dog constantly working, it makes someone rethink bringing drugs in the community because they know that we have the tools to sniff them out and arrest them for it,” said Endries.
Besides a handful of tracks, H experienced his first live bite on July 20, when officers were called to an incident of a man armed with a knife on the street.
“When we first showed up on the call, we tried to get him to drop the knife,” said Endries. When calmly asking the man to drop the knife didn’t work, officers moved to heavy-control tactics using H’s bark and firm orders to drop the weapon.
There was no time to outfit H with his stab-proof vest, so Endries waited to send H in for a bite until necessary. “If the man was going to take off with the knives and we had no other option to prevent him from harming anybody else, then I would want to send H,” he said. “At that point, he’s just helping contain things, until [the suspect] started walking toward other officers with his knife.”
Officers used bean-bag rounds to subdue the suspect. Once the suspect dropped the knife, H was immediately sent in to take him down. Since the knife was still in arm’s reach, there was a possibility the suspect could pick up the weapon again, making the K9 the best choice to end the stand-off.
“I’m very happy with his first live bite,” said Endries. “He did his job, to say the least.”
With H’s retirement planned for sometime in October, plans are already in the works for a replacement K9 that will work opposite Steffi, a Belgium Malinois who joined the department in 2015. New handler, Officer Sam Fox, will travel to Indiana in late September to bring back a new K9.
Fox has worked with Endries and Steffi’s handler Officer Chris Hasz as a SWAT team member whenever they needed assistance. “He has a good knowledge base already, so he’ll fit in perfectly,” said Endries.
After H completes his service, Endries anticipates the dog’s absence will be an adjustment. “It’s definitely going to different,” he said. “I probably won’t miss the barking.”
The K9’s off-duty time consists of running off his boundless energy and anything to do with his tennis ball. Hamburgers are a favorite, but he hates ice cream. “He likes to lounge around under the tree and just hang out and be a normal dog,” noted Endries.
When the last day does arrive, it will be similar to most other days in the last seven years when H showed up to work, ready to follow commands and carry out his work. A hamburger might be part of the deal.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do on his last day, but I think I’m going to spoil him,” said Endries.
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