Patricio G. Espinoza

Monday, June 19, 2017

K9 sergeant moves from chasing down suspects to retirement as family pet

PHOENIX – Sgt. Vasku, after working for seven years on SWAT operations and chasing down criminal suspects, has retired.

Now he just has to make the tough transition from K9 service at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to civilian life as a pet enjoying a dog’s life.

Vasku, a nine-year-old Belgian Malinois , in more than 2,000 hours of training and years of experience, treated chasing down a suspect like playing on command, said MCSO deputy Trevor Clancy, Vasku’s handler and former partner.

Retirement for a K9 is not as simple as it sounds, Clancy said. Vasku has to alter his behavior a bit.

“It’s kind of like having an eight-year-old puppy because he has no house etiquette,” Clancy said. Vasku is housebroken but “he’s getting in the garbage, smelling food on the counter, playing with the kids’ toys.”

Clancy, who smiled and hugged his former partner, said Vasku is playful and friendly, meshing well with the rest of the family that includes a one-year-old.

Vasku is one of three K9 officers who have retired from MCSO this year, according to a spokesman.

(Video by Patricio G. Espinoza/Cronkite News)