Talon News - Good Local News

By Dorothy Nobis
City of Bloomfield 

Bloomfield Gets New Officer

K9 joins BPD force


January 13, 2017

The newest member of the Bloomfield Police Department stands out in a field of blue uniforms and badges. With fellow officers making traffic stops and writing reports, this new "officer" chills in the back seat of the patrol car, waiting for his opportunity to fight crime.

Jax, a three-year-old Belgian Malinois, joined the department several months ago, and is a "Canine Cop" that is already earning his keep. His keep is minimal, however, said Bloomfield Police Chief Randy Foster.

"We provide his food and he gets to live with his handler, Kyle Davis," Foster said of Jax. "We provide him with his training and we guarantee him a forever home when he retires."

Jax also receives care from Bloomfield veterinarian Shayna Whitaker, who donates her services to the department. Whitaker is also the wife of Foster and has a clinic in Bloomfield.

Bloomfield Police Officer Kyle Davis is partnered with Jax, and it is a partnership Davis loves. Jax lives with Davis and Davis's family, which includes his wife, three children and two other dogs.

"I'm lucky to have Jax," Davis said. "I take him home with me and he's good with my kids and, after some initial dog aggressiveness, he does well with my other dogs."

Davis and Jax spent six weeks at the Alderhost Patrol School in Riverside, Calif., where Jax scored in the highest percentile of the six dogs in the training. This spring, Jax and Davis will attend a drug detection school that will certify Jax in multiple disciplines.

Jax had his first call from the police department shortly after he and Davis returned from the California training.

"We were looking for an armed suspect and we sent Jax in to look for the suspect, keeping the officers out of harm's way," Foster said.

"Jax cleared two houses and he did a wonderful job," Davis said proudly.

A more recent call for assistance sent Jax to assist with locating a suspect who had barricaded himself in a house.

"Jax stayed focused, found the guy and we were able to negotiate (with the suspect) without physical confrontation," Foster said.

In spite of how well Jax is doing, he'll remain the underdog until Leo, another Belgian Malinois that has served the department since March, 2012, retires when Jax has completed his training.

Leo has been partnered with Sgt. Josh Calder since 2011. Calder was working for the Farmington Police Department when he was first introduced to canine patrol.

"Not a lot of people get involved with the dogs because it's a huge personal commitment," Calder said, adding it takes a motivated officer to partner with a dog. "You get called out a lot to help find drugs, search for suspects and lost people. It's much faster for a dog to search a building – it takes a dog minutes to do the search and they're more thorough because of their sense of smell."

Leo has proven himself to be a dedicated officer, Calder said, and while "living the life of a house dog" might appeal to his partner, Calder isn't sure Leo will adjust quickly.

"I think when he hears the (canine) truck start and drive off without him, he's going to want to go."

Leo is expected to retire sometime in the late spring or early summer, Calder said. While no formal retirement party is planned for Leo, Calder said there will be a celebration.

"We'll get together with the canine unit in Farmington," Calder said, adding that Bloomfield and Farmington are the only law enforcement departments that currently have dogs. "We'll have a get together, but it won't be big."

When Leo retires, Calder will return to his former position as a patrol sergeant with the police department. "I'll miss being a canine handler," Calder admitted. "But I'll have plenty of other things to do."

Leo will enjoy his forever home with Calder and his family. The Canine Cops belong to the Bloomfield Police Department, but when a dog retires, his partner may purchase him.

"It will be one dollar probably," Calder said of Leo's purchase price. But the memories of working with his four legged, furry partner will remain priceless.

"Leo's been an awesome dog," he said. "He's done his job. He's helped us find drugs and find kids (who were lost). I think he's done pretty well."

While the department will miss Leo, there is little doubt that Jax will create his own niche in the Bloomfield Police Department. And for Officer Kyle Davis, having Jax as his partner against crime is a blessing.

"He's one of the best partner's I've ever had," Davis said. "He's a loving and social dog and I hope to keep him until he retires."

Chief Randy Foster said Jax is a force to be reckoned with.

"If you happen to hear Kyle say 'Come out with your hands up or I'll send in the dog,' I suggest you do it," Foster said with a grin. "I guarantee you won't want to meet Jax under those circumstances!"

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