The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

March 22, 2014

County K-9 Odin retires after 10 years on force

By Amy Kent
Herald Staff Writer

---- — By Amy Kent

Herald Staff Writer

CLINTON — Clinton County Sheriff’s Office officials said goodbye to an honored team member on Friday as K-9 officer Odin earned his retirement after 10 1/2 years with the sheriff’s office.

During his career, Odin, an 11-year-old German shepherd, executed his abilities 170 times with the sheriff’s office and 76 times with other agencies, recording 26 drug search warrants, 55 vehicle traffic stops and 16 suspect apprehensions without a bite, among a multitude of other accomplishments.

Odin’s handler, Deputy Jeff Ernst, spoke highly of his partner Friday, recounting memories of their more than 10 years together on the force and relishing the fact that Odin will now become a member of his home as the family pet.

“His job (now) is going to be chasing off birds of prey from the property,” said Ernst with an affectionate Odin at his side. “He really has a hard time of eagles and hawks landing on his property so he will be chasing them off and upsetting my wife by laying in the koi pond.”

Odin, born in January 2003 in the Republic of Georgia, came to the United States in August 2003 to attend the Top Dog Police K-9 Academy in Evansville, Ind. After an intensive, six-week training course, Odin received his certification and began working with Ernst at the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office in December 2003.

Amid his years of service to the office and the community, Odin conducted 46 tracks of criminal suspects, apprehending 15 of those for a 31 percent average. The national average success rate for catching tracked suspects is less than 10 percent.

While Odin’s accomplishments are impressive on paper in comparison to his K-9 counterparts, Ernst recalled Friday the notable qualities he observed during his time serving with the German shepherd.

“When we’re running traffic, the radar, not only does it pick up vehicle speed, there’s a volume that we have in there and what that’s doing is picking up how fast that person’s engine is running,” Ernst said. “Odin could tell just by how high that pitch was, before looking at the speed, that I was going to pull that vehicle over and he’d start whining.”

Odin will retire as the longest serving K-9 at the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, lasting a year longer than originally scheduled. When the time came last year to hang up his service vest, Ernst approached Clinton County Sheriff Rick Lincoln to ask for one more year with the dog who he deemed to have “a lot more drive.”

Now, suffering from hip dysplasia and reaching the age of a senior dog, Odin is destined for a life of relaxation in retirement, although Ernst doesn’t expect him to embrace that lifestyle anytime soon.

“He will not like when that squad car leaves tomorrow without him,” Ernst said.