The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday lost a loyal deputy and his 35 years’ experience to retirement.
Dog years, that is.
K-9 Jimmy, a 7-year-old German shepherd, became the county’s first retired canine officer after working five years with Sgt. Matthew Webb. In the five years Jimmy worked for the Sheriff’s Office, he saved at least four people’s lives, Webb said.
One of those lives was a person who went missing and was found unconscious. Another was a lost autistic child.
Jimmy came to the United States from a small town near Cologne in northwest Germany and was trained at a police K-9 school in Denver.
More than 60 people attended Jimmy’s retirement party at the La Plata County Fairgrounds this week, many of whom were children excited to pet the retired officer. Webb said he’s proud of the work Jimmy has done and happy for the community support.
“I selfishly want to keep working with him because this is the best law enforcement job I’ve ever had,” Webb said.
But the partners won’t be separated soon – Webb said he plans to purchase Jimmy from the department as a pet.
Barbara Schwartz, president of the Durango Kennel Club, said the organization plans to donate $5,000 to the Sheriff’s Office for a new K-9 officer, with a matching $5,000 donation from the American Kennel Club.
“Police dogs are incredible animals,” she said. “Losing Jimmy is losing part of a family.”