After a decade of service, Chattanooga canine officer Kilo wore his police gear for the last time Tuesday.
Kilo, 12, came to the police department from Crawley, West Virginia, in 2009 at just 2 years old. He started his police canine training at about 3 years old with basic obedience, tracking, detection and apprehension techniques.
Since then, the Belgian shepherd has accumulated a lengthy track record in law enforcement. He's taken part in a long list of criminal apprehensions and illegal drug and firearm recoveries.
Just some of Kilo's accomplishments include: 631 K-9 assisted arrests; 153 K-9 apprehensions; confiscations of 563 grams of cocaine; and confiscations of 467 grams of methamphetamine.
"That is an absolutely outstanding career," police Chief David Roddy said during a Tuesday Chattanooga City Council session. "Those are small incidents scattered over a decade that impacted the safety of this community."
Kilo’s career accomplishments
Vehicle searches – 733
Building searches – 458
K-9 assisted arrests – 631
Suspect tracks – 197
K-9 apprehensions – 153
Illegal gun recoveries – 159
Marijuana – 199 pounds
Cocaine – 563 grams
Meth – 467 grams
One of those incidents included Kilo potentially saving a suicidal person's life in 2017.
Police were called to the scene where the person was threatening suicide with a gun. When police arrived, the person ran away with the gun in hand. That's when Kilo was deployed and apprehended the person and "ultimately, probably saved that guy's life," said K-9 Unit Sgt. Rusty Morrison.
Now that those days are over, Kilo's handler, Officer George Romero, will be taking Kilo home to "live the leisure life of a house pet," police spokeswoman Elisa Myzal said.
Covered in dog hair, the entire Chattanooga Police Department K-9 Unit was at Tuesday's council meeting to wish Kilo a happy retirement.
"The entire unit showed up here out of respect, not only for the service of Kilo himself, but also handler Officer Romero," Roddy said. "This is just how they work together. The countless hours that they spend [together working] ... they do it in the rain, they do it in the snow, they do it, as I said before, covered in dog hair. They crawl into places that you wouldn't imagine, and they crawl into places with their animals."
"It's a partnership for life," Councilman Chip Henderson added. "I appreciate Kilo's service and all the handlers and the officers who dedicate their lives to — this special department."
Kilo's favorite things to do in his free time include swimming and playing fetch, Myzal said.
"He's been through a lot," Romero said. "He's a miracle dog. He's gonna live out his days at home, being a normal dog, eating treats."
And how will Kilo celebrate his retirement? With a big steak and a bowl of ice cream, of course.
"He's earned it," Morrison said.
Another police canine, Coda, also was retired on Tuesday.
The 6-year-old Coda will be leaving the department because, "as with any acquisition, animals have as much of a personality as humans do. And through our training, sometimes, certain personality characteristics we know just aren't Chattanooga," Roddy said.