K-9 Zeus: An Indio Policeman's Best Friend
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
The Indio Police Department welcomes a new K-9 officer to its ranks, thanks to community fund-raising.
A dog is not only man's best friend, but in the case of the police dog he's the officer's constant companion.
From tracking criminals to sniffing out drugs, cop canines do work no human counterpart can.
Officer Austin Studer has a four legged partner with a nose for crime
For a month now, K-9 Zeus has sniffed the streets of Indio.
"I've got about 18 apprehensions so far, so he's been doing very well, everyone has seen Zeus and they've wanted to get arrested," said Officer Studer.
Being a K-9 officer is also dangerous.
In 2011, Palm Springs K-9 Ike was shot and killed by a suspect.
And Monday, Highway Patrol K-9 Ranger was shot; his paw amputated, he's now forced into early retirement.
"It's just as dangerous and what we're doing, their liable to encounter all the same dangers we do, gunshots, stabbings, fires," said Officer Studer.
Preparing a police dog and his human officer is a costly and intense process.
One Indio K-9 is retiring, making way for Zeus.
It cost nearly 17,000 dollars for Zeus and training, paid in part by 8,000 from the Elks Lodge of Indio.
"The Elks organization likes to help the community in any way we can and we have quite a few members who are retired police officers and when they heard about their other dog, and they needed a new one, it just kind of started a ground swell," said Jason Miller, Lodge Esquire for Elks Lodge of Indio 1643.
Indio police say the community has been very supportive.
"Since the mid-90s, all our K-9 units have been 100 percent donated by donated funds from the community to purchase our police dogs," said Ben Guitron with the Indio Police Department.
Zeus and Officer Studer face crime together during work, and return home together at night.
When asked who's a better partner, a human or Zeus, Officer Studer replied, "I'm more partial to Zeus, he doesn't back talk, he doesn't give me any problems, he's always glad to see me."
So meet Zeus, a policeman's best friend.
Canine officer Zeus is cross-trained in narcotics detection, apprehension and tracking suspects.