Officer Darren Soutar said he’s excited to be the handler of Tipp City’s new K9 unit, Bob.
They assume the K9 duties previously performed by Sgt. Greg Adkins and Gitta since 2008. Gitta retired in November.
Both dogs and their handlers met briefly with Tipp City council members before their meeting Dec. 19.
Soutar, who has been with the police department for more than 11 years, welcomed Bob into his family’s home a few months ago. He said Bob came from Germany to Police Dog Services out of Germantown.
They underwent six weeks of training in obedience, drug odors, bite, tracking, area search, article search and building searches. Bob received certification Nov. 16.
Soutar said he’s had a long-time interest in being a K9 handler and was fortunate to work the same shift with Adkins and Gitta.
“I was always impressed with Sgt. Adkins and Gitta and the great job they did,” Soutar said.
He is required to train 16 hours a month. On his days off, Soutar said he usually would take Bob out to work on various skills.
Bob works daily with Soutar and has been utilized on a couple of traffic stops so far. On one stop, Bob gave a positive alert and helped locate drugs and drug paraphernalia.
Bob is on call 24 hours a day for work with the Tipp City department or other agencies needing his assistance.
Soutar said he and Bob would work to maintain the level of service set by Adkins and Gitta.
He also said he was thankful to Chief Burris for continuing the department’s K9 program.
Adkins said age was becoming a factor for Gitta and a retirement “for a little while of just being a dog” was desired.
He purchased Gitta for $1 with her retirement.
Gitta assisted not only the Tipp City Police Department but also the United States Marshal Service and numerous police agencies on calls such as tracking fleeing suspects, narcotics sniffs, search warrants and article search for evidence.
She was deployed 941 times in her career, seized 4.5 pounds of heroin, 1,244 pounds of marijuana, 5.3 pounds of cocaine, 1.7 pounds of methamphetamines and more than 2.5 ounces of illegal narcotic prescription pills.
Adkins said Gitta searched more than 12,000 motor vehicles, 62 homes and 21 hotels and had 42 apprehensions out of 92 tracks of fleeing suspects. He said her efforts also resulted in 112 guns being taken off the streets from vehicles and that she conducted more than 90 school searches with other agencies.
“Due to the hard work of Gitta, more than 600 misdemeanor and 400 felony criminal charges were filed,” he said.
Although retired, Adkins said Gitta is waiting by the door when he leaves for work as she always did while with the department. “Age has not affected her drive and willingness to go to work,” he said.
Burris said the Tipp City Police Department K9 program, one of two K9 units in Miami County, is “very valuable to us and our neighboring departments.”
The department gets requests for mutual aid with the K9 on a fairly regular basis, the chief said.
The department’s first police dog in 1994 was Lefty, who worked with Officer Doug Arnold. In 2000, Lefty went out of service and Burris was handler of Prints.
Prints retired in 2008 when Gitta joined the department and Adkins became the handler.
Two of the city’s dogs were purchased with city funds while one was donated and the other was purchased with money from fundraisers.
The cost of maintaining the program is “rather low,” including primarily the cost of dog food, Burris said. The program receives donations and Dr. Martin English provides free medical service for the dogs.