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Help the IU Police Department name its new K-9

Feb. 22, 2017

The Indiana University Police Department-Bloomington will welcome a new member to its ranks this semester: a 1-year-old chocolate lab. 

photo of Officer Skaggs next to a photo of the chocolate lab

The IUPD is polling the campus community in search of a name for the new pup that will join its ranks later this semester. | PHOTO COURTESY OF THE IU POLICE DEPARTMENT

And the department is asking for the campus community’s help in naming the new K-9. You can choose from the options listed, or suggest your own unique name. Cast your vote by Feb. 24!

The department’s first K-9, Tery, has been with IUPD for five years. But at 9 years old, Tery is ready to depart from police work and enjoy dog retirement. The K-9 program at IUPD-Bloomington was started by former chief Keith Cash, who passed away in 2013 of a heart condition, and the program continues to honor his memory, love for dogs and love for the IU campus. 

The new K-9, which the department hopes to have fully trained in time for spring commencement, will specialize in explosives detection at major events and tracking humans or objects, such as missing persons, weapons or evidence.

IUPD works with Ultimate Canine in Westfield, Indiana, a company known for an individualized training approach. The training process is extremely intensive and will take about three months to complete. The training will culminate with the K-9 and his IUPD partner, officer Ryan Skaggs, pairing for a weeklong, one-on-one training on campus. 

As his partner, Skaggs will have to learn to read the K-9 and know what he’s thinking at all times. But the two will be spending plenty of time together, as Skaggs will take care of him on and off the job.

The K-9 will live with Skaggs and his fiancé, Heather Ross, both of whom are IU alumni, at their home in the country. He will have a big, fenced yard to play in and several playmates, as the couple already have two dogs, several chickens and a few goats.  

two dogs sitting and looking up at the camera

The new K-9 will live with Officer Skaggs, his fiance, their two dogs (pictured here), chickens and goats. | PHOTO COURTESY OF RYAN SKAGGS

“He will have a great home to play and be a dog when he’s not working,” Skaggs said. “This is a dream come true for me, because I have always loved dogs, and after doing some training on my own over the past few years, I have really come to respect and appreciate how much our four-legged friends really can do for us.”

Skaggs said he knew this K-9 was the one by his “incredible temperament.”

“When I met him, he hopped in my lap and gave me puppy kisses until it was time to go to work, which is how we knew it would be a good fit,” he said. 

Because the dog is so friendly, Skaggs sees him going above and beyond his intended role with the IUPD. He also sees the potential for the K-9 to boost the morale in the department, as well as in the larger Bloomington campus community.

In fact, Skaggs can’t wait to get the K-9 out and about on campus. He will make many appearances at campus events, but Skaggs urges the campus community to ask before attempting to pet him, since he is a service dog.

“He will be a friendly pup, and a friend to the campus community,” he said. 

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