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K-9 leaves police life, for family life

Photo by Elaine Rackley
Henry County Police Officer Matt Perry is the  department's Canine handler for Kimbo. Kimbo is retiring from the department and will live out his remaining days with Perry. The police dog is a 10-year-old, Belgian Malanois from Holland.

Photo by Elaine Rackley Henry County Police Officer Matt Perry is the department's Canine handler for Kimbo. Kimbo is retiring from the department and will live out his remaining days with Perry. The police dog is a 10-year-old, Belgian Malanois from Holland.

A four-legged police officer has retired from public service, and will live out the remainder of his life with his handler.

The 10-year-old Belgian Malanois, named Kimbo, has served the Henry County Police Department (HCPD) since Dec. 2005. His partner and handler is Officer Matt Perry.

"Normally we work as a team on Henry County highways," said Perry.

Kimbo received initial training in Holland. He continued his training in Lafayette, La. Henry police acquired him from their counterparts in Louisiana, according to his handler.

"He is a titled police dog through the Dutch police trials in Europe," said Perry. "He is a dual-purpose canine. He is trained in narcotics detection, tracking, area searches and handler protection." The police dog has demonstrated his skills at schools and public events.

Kimbo is able to track human skin rafts and crushed vegetation, and he can detect marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroine, said Perry.

"He is certified once a year on the four narcotics [detections], and trains weekly," continued Perry.

Kimbo has surpassed the $13,000 investment Henry officials made in acquiring him, said Perry. He assisted police in seizing several million dollars of drugs and currency, he added.

"In 2009, I conducted a traffic stop for a minor violation on the interstate. Kimbo alerted a kilogram of cocaine and $40,000 in cash was seized in that one stop," said Perry. "What was discovered in a single traffic stop paid for him twice over."

Throughout Kimbo's law enforcement career, he has located and apprehended numerous felony suspects, who probably would not have been caught had it not been for the police dog's superior tracking ability, said Perry.

"Canines are important to the agency; they serve a very vital function," agreed Henry Police Maj. Jason Bolton.

Once their careers end, the trained dogs should be with their handlers, said Bolton.

The police dog is too dangerous to be given to an animal shelter for adoption, Bolton added.

"I hate not having him at work, but it's good to see that he can enjoy the best quality of life for the remainder of his life." said Perry. He said Kimbo has developed spine issues.

"He's now a personal protection dog, and he's good with my family," said Perry.