BY ELIZABETH NAJIM
We have a special Employee Spotlight feature this month as we would like to highlight some special heroes at the Syracuse Police Department — Jax and Riggs, the K9s.
Sergeant Handy & K-9 JAX
Jax is a black German Shepherd and is 2.5 years old. Jax has been with the department since May 2021 when he was 11 months old. Trained in Narcotics Detection and handler protection, Jax never stops moving when he isn’t in his kennel and very rarely just lays around. He has a Kong on a rope which is the toy used for training, it is his absolute favorite, and he would die for it. He loves to shred ropes.
Officer Mauhar & K-9 RIGGS
Riggs is a German Shepherd and is 4.5 years old. Riggs has been with the department since September 2019 when he was 13 months old. Trained in Narcotics Detection and handler protection, Riggs Likes to lounge around the backyard while at home and will even climb up on yard furniture to sleep. Riggs has balls on ropes for training which are his favorite, and he would die for them.
The K9 teams go through an initial intense, reality-based, eight-week Narcotics Detector Dog training academy, where they are trained and certified with their handlers. The K9s are internationally recognized as Narcotics Detector Dogs. After the K9 Academy, the K9 teams conduct at least 4 hours of sustainment training per week and must pass re-certification annually in order to continue working on the street. Weekly training with K9s is an intense and dirty experience. They live for this training and never stop moving. Training is where they get the majority of their fun. Weekly training entails locating various hidden narcotics, where the handler typically does not know the location and has to be able to read the K9’s behaviors and observe for proper indications. As working dogs, the SYPD tries to make sure that when they are at work, and especially when they are training, it is the most fun they experience throughout their life to ensure they are working as efficiently as possible. They are not generally treated as pets; however, they do essentially become members of our families and receive plenty of socializing at home, and even get to spend time with other PD members’ dogs.
The SYPD K9 teams have removed a significant amount of drugs from the streets of Syracuse and surrounding Cities of Davis County over the years through deployments on traffic stops where drugs are suspected, and in serving search warrants for narcotics.
Jax and Riggs are extremely social and seek attention from anyone around them. Both are great around kids. The K9s don’t have toys when they’re not training except when supervised as it affects their desire to train, and they may eat the toys. It takes a special kind of person to be a handler of these two dogs because of their level of activity and drive. Despite that, they are the best and sweetest boys in the Syracuse Police Department.