If ever there was a perfect ambassador for the Prescott Valley Police Department's K-9 program, it has to be Belgian Malinois Joey.
In 2003, the department was looking to expand its K-9 program, and after finding Joey, purchased him with money from a grant through the Yavapai County Community Foundation. That grant and many more for the purchase and support of countywide K-9 units are possible because of a woman named Janet Codding, a Prescott resident and dog lover who set up an endowed fund through the Foundation to support law enforcement canines.
One of Codding's interests was listening to the police scanner, and she especially followed the exploits of the county's police dogs. She established the Law Enforcement Canine Fund through YCCF to provide maintenance, care and training of the dogs throughout Yavapai County. After her death in 2003, her total contribution to the fund reached $500,000, which provides some $30,000 annually through grants for area police dogs.
Codding's endowment is literally the foundation for Prescott Valley's K-9 program, and her investment is paying off. According to Prescott Valley Police records, throughout his career, Joey located 1,300 pounds of marijuana, 26 pounds of methamphetamine, 10 pounds of cocaine and 50 grams of heroin with a combined street value of more than $1.7 million. He also assisted in the seizure of 683 vehicles and more than 1,000 arrests.
Joey also is well known around Prescott Valley as through the years he has visited schools, appeared in demonstrations, and generally made himself lovable throughout Yavapai County.
"Joey has set the standard for what we look for in K-9s," said Sgt. Art Askew, who heads up the K-9 unit for the Prescott Valley Police Dept. "He has set the bar high, and he'll be sorely missed."
This January, Joey officially retired at 9 years old. While he is highly trained and valuable in his work, he's at the age in which he's slowing down a bit, and in a police situation, this could jeopardize his safety and that of his handler, Officer Paul Hines.
Joey and Paul, along with Paul's wife and sons and a host of admirers, attended a retirement ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 27, during a town council meeting at the Prescott Valley Civic Center. During the ceremony, Paul paid $1 to the town to officially purchase Joey and relieve the town of liability and responsibility for his care.
Paul then told the audience that he had promised Joey to his son Peyton, at which time he handed the leash to the excited boy. Paul then had to step back from the podium to wipe the tears from his own eyes as he contemplated the end of his police partnership with Joey. Police dogs and their handlers literally depend on each other for their lives, and the bond between Paul and Joey is obvious.
Joey has had quite the round of retirement appearances and accolades. The hard working employees of Yavapai Exceptional Industries recently presented him with a palatial doghouse they crafted for his new life of ease.
On Saturday, Feb. 5, the community is invited to meet Joey and his family and wish him well in his retirement during a party from 10 a.m. to noon at the KennelKamp Village, 9049 E. Florentine Rd., Prescott Valley. Other K-9 teams will be there, and the public is welcome to come and have a picture taken with the photogenic Joey. KennelKamp will provide refreshments for both dogs and humans.
Oh, and another K-9, a beautiful black German Shepherd named Kio, has joined the Prescott Valley Police Dept. as Paul's new K-9 partner. But that's a story for another blog.
PVtrib.com video filmed by Heidi Dahms Foster
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