Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Top dogs retire


Two of KCPD’s most accomplished canines retired in a ceremony at 2 p.m. today.

The event honored 12-year-old Laica and 8-year-old Soty. Laica (pronounced Lie-ka) is retiring due to age, and Soty is retiring because of a back injury. (Laica is in the top picture, and Soty is below.) Both dogs are Czechoslovakian Shepherds who have spent their entire careers with the Kansas City Missouri Police Department. Both are trained to find people and explosives. Upon their retirement, they will go home to live with their former human partners and will spend the rest of their lives as pampered pets.

They deserve this treatment. Laica, along with his partner Officer Neven Mikic, has made 114 criminal apprehensions in his career, which started in November 1999. In February 2004, Laica found a burglar in a vast warehouse that was hiding behind two locked doors. On Halloween night in 2007, he located two people who had robbed and shot a person. And in 2008, he was able to track down a man who had purposefully hit a KCPD motorcycle officer and seriously injured him.

Soty has had a distinguished career, as well. He joined the department in September 2002 and was the partner of Officer David Magruder. He has made 82 criminal apprehensions in the past seven years. During one apprehension in November 2004, Soty was bitten by a man while he tried to protect Officer Magruder from being attacked. That man was charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer because of the injuries he caused the dog. In November 2005, Soty tracked down a man who had shot at Mission police officers and fled from them into our city. And in June 2007, Soty found and helped take into custody a man who had shot at a KCPD officer more than 30 times. That take-down was broadcast on the television show “COPS.” Soty and Officer Magruder were then selected to serve as co-grand marshals of the 2009 Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Throughout the years, both dogs have located numerous items of evidence at crime scenes and have conducted explosive searches for presidents, vice presidents and other dignitaries.

Replacements for Laica and Soty have been purchased through a combination of donations and department funds. The new dogs, Arras and Taz, are in the process of being certified to be working canine officers.