Sioux Falls Police Has New K-9: Pup Will Replace 8 Year Veteran

The Sioux Falls Police Department is excited to welcome a new officer, not just any officer though, a new Police K-9. Spike is expected to join the ranks in December. But for another officer, it’s bittersweet, as his partner will retire.

At just 18 months old, Spike is just a pup.

“… got a lot of energy, and a lot of drive, and you can just see he’s ready and excited to learn,” said Sioux Falls Police Officer Nic Stevens.

But he’s about to grow up fast. Over the next few months, he’ll learn everything from obedience and tracking to detecting narcotics. In December, he’ll have his Patrol and Narcotics Certification, and officially become an officer on the Sioux Falls Police Department.

Stevens said, “Spending the last few years here at the department, really spending a lot of time around them and seeing the different things they can do to help us do our job in a better way every single day, it’s pretty incredible.”

For his handler, this is all new too. This is Stevens’ first time working with a K-9 after 12 years on the job.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into it and I’m learning probably three times what the dog is learning because I know my previous role, but this is starting from square one again,” said Stevens. “It’s something you can only dream about. Just being with a dog, one of your best friends all day long.”

Spike is replacing another K-9 named Max.

“We put these dogs through a lot. I mean they run after people, they jump in and out of the car 30-40 times a day. When they’re in the back of the car, you know, they’re in the kennel and they can get banged up a little bit. When we train with them they get banged up too,” said Sioux Falls Police Officer Grant Vanvoorst.

After 8 years on the department, the 9-year-old is starting to slow down. The 11 hour shifts are beginning to take a toll.

“When I buy him from the department, he’ll be my personal dog and then he’ll just be a house pet and he’ll get to retire like a retiree and sit around and watch T.V. and eat popcorn,” Vanvoorst said.

Vanvoorst says the next few weeks he has left will be bittersweet.

“Max, he’s my partner,” said Vanvoorst. “He goes out on calls with ya, I mean, there’s chances that he could save your life as well.”

The two have had each other’s backs everyday for four years.

“It’s like a dream. You got a tool no one else has on the department,” said Vanvoorst. “It’s really cool to watch them work and when they do something really cool, like find a bad guy, it makes you proud.”

Proud moments, he’ll never forget.

Officer Vanvoorst will work with another K-9 that’s already on the department. He’ll be the handler for Doerak after his former handler was promoted.

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