‘He knew his job and he did it well’; K-9 Bolos retires from Iron County Sheriff’s Office 

K-9 officer Bolos, date and location of photo not specified. | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff's Office, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — After a successful five-year career with the Iron County Sheriff’s Office, K-9 officer Bolos has officially retired.

The black-haired Dutch shepherd worked his last shift on May 16, Cpl. Shawn Peterson, his partner and handler, told Cedar City News.

“A couple of weeks before his retirement, we had a really good training day,” Peterson recalled, noting that the following day, he noticed Bolos had a slight limp and was favoring one of his legs. 

“We took him to the vet and she checked him out. We got to have a real tough conversation,” Peterson said. “Basically the way she put it out there was, you know, you can retire him now and then he’ll get a couple of good years to be a dog.”

Since then, Bolos has transitioned into being a pet in the Peterson household. His first “human” meal after his retirement was a big, juicy beef steak, which he eagerly gobbled down, Peterson noted. 

File photo shows Iron County Sheriff’s Cpl. Shawn Peterson and his K-9 partner Bolos during a public demonstration event, Cedar City, Utah, June 24, 2019 | File photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Even though he seems to be enjoying his new free time, Bolos still misses going to work each day, Peterson said. 

“Every day, when I walk back from the kennel, he starts whining,” Peterson said. “He wants to go to work even though he physically can’t do it anymore. It’s hard.”

“A stellar, stellar dog,” is how Peterson describes Bolos, who was 3 years old and already highly trained when he first joined the Iron County Sheriff’s Office, having come from a kennel in the Netherlands.

Peterson said Bolos skillfully handled a wide range of assignments during his career, including conducting many drug searches and helping apprehend criminal suspects. He also participated in a number of search and rescues and made appearances at local schools and other demonstration events.

Peterson said he and Bolos frequently worked in other jurisdictions, responding to calls throughout Southwest Utah – primarily in Iron County but also including nearby Beaver and Garfield counties and even as far as Beaver Dam, Arizona. At one point, Bolos was one of just two active K-9s working out of Iron County, Peterson said, adding that there are currently six working K-9 officers in the county, representing four different agencies.

Peterson said of the many memories he has of working with Bolos, one that stands out is the time his K-9 partner helped save him from getting shot by a gunman.

“I truly believe that I owe my life to him,” Peterson said of Bolos as he recounted a domestic violence call a few years ago where the suspect had established an advantageous position, reportedly planning to ambush and fire upon the responding officers. However, before any shots were fired, Bolos made his way around from the side and was able to successfully subdue the suspect.

“He ended up surrendering. The guy just gave up,” Peterson said, noting that the man, like many other suspects, suddenly had a change in plans as soon he became aware of the K-9 officer’s presence.

Whether he was sniffing through a room or vehicle to detect the presence of drugs or taking down a suspect, Bolos could always be counted on to perform his assigned tasks, Peterson said.

“He knew his job and he did it well,” Peterson added.

Since his partner’s retirement, Peterson has already started working with Bolos’ replacement, a 2-year-old American-born Belgian Malinois named Mattis, after the former secretary of defense. 

Soon, the word “Bolos” on the side door of Peterson’s ICSO patrol vehicle will say “Mattis” instead, as Peterson adjusts to training and working with his new partner. 

“So far, it’s going well,” Peterson said of the rigorous training required of all certified K-9s. 

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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