In 2013 five hopeful police canine candidates made the long trip from Germany to Littleton, Colorado with aspirations to become the next dual purpose K9 for the Littleton Police Department (LPD). Of those five, only one stood out, his name was Koda, and he became 13K3, the third K9 in the history of the LPD. Koda underwent rigorous in-house training to develop not only the skills, but the bond required to be paired with his handler, Officer John Jones. Officer Jones was selected through an internal process of a posting, oral board and final selection as the handler for the new K9. Officer Jones and Koda spent over 12 weeks learning how to be a dual purpose team. Koda’s training included narcotic detection, patrol work, tracking, apprehension, officer protection and building searches. K9 Koda, being trained prior to the legalization of marijuana was trained to locate the presence, or odor of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and ecstasy. Officer Jones and K9 Koda became a certified team through the Colorado Police Canine Association and began to work as a patrol team.
K9 Koda was utilized not only by officers of LPD, but also the Arapahoe County Impact Team and Englewood Police Department. K9 Koda successfully tracked several suspects, ultimately leading to their arrest and protecting the city he and Officer Jones swore to protect. After six years of faithful service, and due to the legalization of marijuana, and a supreme court ruling against police K9’s trained to detect marijuana, K9 Koda is handing in his leash to enjoy the life of luxury as a retired police K9. K9 Koda will live out his days frolicking about the home of Officer Jones, where he has resided since his initial selection. He will be loved deeply by Officer Jones, his wife and children and their sweet Yorkshire Terrier in the years to come. K9 Koda will be missed by his fellow officers on patrol, but thought of fondly and wished the best as he lives the life we all wish we will be given in retirement. The LPD thanks Officer Jones and K9 Koda for their service and dedication to the Littleton Police K9 unit and wish K9 Koda all the belly scratches he wishes in the years to come.
As for the future of the Littleton Police K9 unit, it is now searching for the next handler and police K9 to fill the paws of K9 Koda and Officer Jones. The position of the handler will be filled by an internal selection process, followed by five weeks of rigorous training with the selected police K9. The team will then return to patrol the streets of Littleton. The K9 will be selected for the needs of the department and paid for by a non-profit group, Friends of Littleton K9. The group has supported the K9 unit for over five years through fundraising efforts and generous citizen donations. The Friends of Littleton K9 have provided funds for K9 Koda, K9 Zan and the newest K9; each K9’s cost being $20,000 for both handler and K9 training. The LPD looks forward to meeting its newest K9 and being a part of all the adventures that come along with a new K9 team.