We wanted to learn more about the work K9s do and the brave officers who train and work with them after the loss of police canines in Fayette and Mercer counties earlier this week. One of their tales is this one.
At the White Sulphur Springs Police Department, K9 officer Gaige Ratliff cohabitates with and supports K9 Reeno.
Reeno is the person with whom Officer Ratliff spends the most time in his life. The relationship between a K9 Officer and their dog is really special, he told 59News.
“Not only is he with me at my house, but he’s with me at work too, all the time. You’ve got to take care of him and every one of his needs, because I’m the only one, not the only one who can interact with him, but really that should because he’s got a purpose,” Ratliff explained.
Officer Ratliff put up a Find for K9 Reeno in the White Sulphur Springs Police Department’s parking lot. He let Reeno search the vehicle after concealing a bag of methamphetamine on a police vehicle in the parking lot.
Reeno quickly located the drugs, and in a true scenario, Officer Ratliff would have the authority to conduct the arrest.
Ratliff continually trains Reeno both on the work and outside of it, which is why he has so many skills.
“Narcotics detection, tracking, apprehension, he can search buildings himself, that way an officer doesn’t have to go in, you can send the dog in,” Ratliff said.
Ratliff remarked that it was difficult at initially to train Reeno for the role. Reeno, an alpha dog, needed some time to figure out how to return his toy. Particularly on the first day of training school, when Ratliff had Reeno’s ball in his pocket.
“So he grabs the ball in my pocket, and he’s ripping it because it’s his ball. And I can’t out him yet. And he literally rips my pants off in the middle of the class. Literally rips my pants completely off. Goes over here (gestures) and I still can’t get the ball back,” Ratliff recalled, laughing.
From a wild puppy to a crucial part of keeping White Sulphur Springs safe.