Longtime Dillon police dog retires
DILLON On the heels of a new police dog coming to the Sheriff’s Office, a constant in K-9 operations in the county is turning in his tags.Digger, a 12-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer/Labrador Retriever mix, will retire on March 1.Digger has been at the Dillon Police Department since he was five weeks old, and while working dogs have come and gone in the county through the years, “Digger’s always kind of been the mainstay,” said his handler Dillon Sgt. Wendy Kipple.Digger is certified in tracking, narcotic detection, area search and article search.
During his 12 years of service, Digger and Kipple have be summoned by pretty much every county surrounding Summit to lend a hand (or a nose).Deputies in Grand County dubbed Digger “super nose” after he sniffed out a methamphetamine operation a couple years back that police had been trying to bust for years, Kipple said.Digger also lent his skills to the investigation after the 1998 arson fire Two Elk Lodge atop Vail Mountain. Digger and seven other dog teams from around the state were called in to perform article searches for evidence. He and Kipple spent two grueling days trudging up and down dry ski runs while Digger nosed around and eventually found a gas can used in the fire, Kipple said. Kipple also remembered a call to Beaver Creek to help locate a 82-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s Disease, who’d wandered out of her hotel room in the middle of the night. Before they arrived, search and rescue teams with dogs had spent hours on the scene and pinpointed her last location to the hotel’s elevator.
When Digger arrived, he picked up her scent in her hotel room, raced down the hallway to a room at the other end of the hotel and began scratching on the door. The manager opened the door, and sure enough, the woman was sleeping soundly in the bed. Turns out, housekeepers had left the door ajar and the woman found her way in.”Everybody else had spent five or six hours looking for this woman, including search and rescue dogs, and in 30 seconds Digger found her,” Kipple said.Digger’s retirement will mark the end of Dillon’s K-9 program, Kipple said.
Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-4629, or at email@example.com.
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