(EL PASO COUNTY, Colo.) — An El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) K9 is hitting “paws” on his esteemed career and heading for retirement.
A celebration was held on Tuesday, Aug. 8 to recognize the career of K9 Taz, as he retires from the force. K9 Taz has been with EPSO since November of 2017, working with his handler Deputy Nicholas Witherite.
K9 Taz came from the Czech Republic when he was 16 months old and spent 12 weeks training with his handler, earning certification for narcotics and patrol work. As one of the most successful K9s to work for EPSO, he was deployed 1,240 times during his service, made nine criminal apprehensions, secured 130 give-ups, and was a manpower multiplier on 370 SWAT deployments, EPSO said.
On record, K9 Taz has over $1.7 million worth of narcotics seizures, including traffic stops that produced 22 pounds of cocaine, 16 pounds of methamphetamine, 12 pounds of Black Tar heroin, to name a few. Additionally, K9 Taz secured countless other drugs during executions of search warrants throughout the past six years.
Among his deployments for countless local agencies, K9 Taz also served on a Presidential Detail.
EPSO said K9 Taz unfortunately recently suffered two significant injuries in the line of duty, which had caused concern for his safety on deployments. He didn’t seem too bothered at his retirement celebration, though, as he was treated to a hamburger cake with a Kong toy and French fry candles.
“Our K9 partners are manpower multipliers and take on a tremendous lift in dangerous, tactical situations,” said Sheriff Joe Roybal. “Their unique skills and training give law enforcement an edge in stopping criminals on our streets and keeping the community safe. I commend K9 Taz and Deputy Witherite on their partnership and six years of outstanding service to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and the citizens of El Paso County. Congratulations, K9 Taz! I hope you enjoy your well-deserved retirement.”
K9 Taz will spend his retirement with Deputy Witherite and his family.