Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer and the sheriff’s K-9 unit announced today with regret the early retirement of K-9 Ajax, who gave more than four years of service to the agency and county.
As a result of neck vertebrae injuries sustained in his police work, Ajax is receiving a medical retirement. He will continue to live with his handler, Deputy Joe Hedstrom (shown in photo).
Nearly seven years old, Ajax is a Slovakian German Shepherd. He was born November 10, 2005, in Slovenská Republika and arrived in the United States two years later. He received more than 400 hours of recruit training at Von der haus Gill Kennel & Police K-9 Academy in Wapakoneta, Ohio, graduating April 18, 2008.
“Ajax was an all-around good dog. He knew when it was time to work and when it was time to stand down,” said Deputy Hedstrom. “Although I would prefer to still have him riding in the patrol car and doing the job he loves so much—finding the bad guys—I know that he will rest comfortably at home and be spoiled by my family.”
Hedstrom added, “In his four years as a patrol K-9, Ajax had 112 captures. I truly miss having him as my partner, but I’m thankful that he’s still with us.”
Sheriff Boyer said, “Our K-9 patrol and narcotics dogs are fully involved members of the sheriff’s office team. They are members of our family, too. In their police role, K-9s face the same hazards on the road and in the field as deputies and detectives.”
Boyer continued, “It’s an unfortunate fact that injuries do occur. While we can’t provide K-9s with pay raises, retirement pensions, and the like, we do provide them with the best possible training, equipment, and veterinary care that is available. K-9 Ajax was a very strong general service police dog and a highly valuable member of our agency. His legacy will place him at the top of our K-9 cadre history.”
Ajax earned certifications from the following organizations during his impressive career:
- National Association of Professional Canine Handlers
- International Police Working Dog Association
- American Police Canine Association
- Washington Administrative Code requirements for police canines
He was accredited as a patrol generalist “team” with the Washington State Police Canine Association in November 2009 and as a master generalist “team” with the Washington State Police Canine Association October 2011. Ajax also graduated from the Spokane Police Advanced Patrol K-9 Handler Course.
Thanks Ajax, and be well!
Photo courtesy of Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office.