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A look at the bond between K-9 officers and their handlers

Bakersfield Police K-9
Posted at 6:52 PM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-27 02:05:02-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Thursday will mark one month since Bakersfield Police K-9 Officer Jango was shot and killed in the line of duty. Since his death, the department said it's been an emotional time.

Police officials say any time a K-9 is killed by a suspect, it just reminds them of the dangers these animals and their handlers face on the job. Through dangerous situations, officers say their K-9 companions are like their right-hand.

"I'm looking to him to be my nose. He's going to be my protector in that way," said Officer Nick Ashby. Ashby and his K-9 Zudo have been partners for over two years.

Ashby said he and Zudo are together 24-7, at home and at work. He says Zudo's nose is like a superpower.

"He's going to tell me, 'hey some bad guys lurking behind this door, they may be trying to wait to ambush me.' So he's going to let me know things way ahead of that time," Ashby said.

Ashby and Zudo have been working closely patrolling the streets of Bakersfield 40 hours a week. Zudo, like Jango, is a Belgian Malinois from the Netherlands. His commands are spoken in Czech and he is cross-trained in explosive detection and criminal apprehension.

“We use the actual explosive material to train him. So, he's smelling what really would be used in an explosive. He can smell black powder TNT, C4," Ashby said. "We use him to sweep hotels, if there's politicians coming through, or if there's a threat of a bomb somewhere. Then we will have the bomb squad come in after.”

Sgt. Robert Pair with the Bakersfield Police Department says police K-9’s have vests, but they can't wear them for their entire shift because the vests are heavy and will drain their energy. He said the department is looking into new options where the K-9’s will be able to wear them longer.