KAYSVILLE -- The city's police department recently acquired a new K-9 dog and appointed a new K-9 officer.
When the city's previous K-9 dog was medically retired in August, and the K-9 officer was recently promoted to sergeant, it created two positions that needed to be filled.
As a result, the department went through the process of purchasing Junior, a 3-year-old, male German shepherd and appointing Officer Mike Criddle as the new K-9 officer.
Criddle was appointed first and accompanied the group that drove to Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, Ind., to select the dog. Criddle said he played a significant role in the selection process, as the dog will live at his home and interact with his family
"He is good with my family. He loves to play. He loves tug of war. He's a very good, obedient dog," said Criddle.
Junior is what is called a titled dog, which means he has received some limited training, said Criddle.
Junior already understands some basic obedience and police commands.
Criddle has been a patrol officer for Kaysville for three years, and went through a very competitive selection process to attain the position of K-9 officer, said Sgt. Paul Thompson, former K-9 officer for the department.
Criddle and Junior are currently in training with the Utah P.O.S.T. K-9 Academy.
Both the officer and the dog must successfully complete two sessions: eight weeks of patrol training and eight weeks of narcotics detection training.
When they complete their training, Criddle and Junior will be available countywide to perform narcotics searches, apprehensions and various other types of searches. Thompson said the majority of the deployments will be drug searches.
The department was looking for three characteristics when it evaluated the 200 or more dogs available from Vohne Liche Kennels, said Thompson.
First and foremost officials were looking for a social dog, he said.
The department will use the dog to do presentations throughout the city. Therefore, he needs to be friendly around both children and adults, Thompson said.
"It's a really proactive way to approach police work," said Thompson when describing the benefits of public appearances by the dog.
The second trait was the ability to engage in combat, and the desire to stay in the fight, said Thompson.
The third quality was an excellent work drive.
"Junior is just a great fit for us," Thompson said.
"(We get) a lot of bang for the buck," he said, referencing the $10,000 price tag.
Thompson said the dog comes with a six-month health and workability guarantee.
If Junior has health problems or does not perform according to their expectations, the department can exchange him.
Kaysville has had a K-9 program in effect since 1996, and Junior is the fourth K-9 for the city.
Mayor Steve Hiatt said:
"It is certainly an asset to our community to continue that program in (our) police department."