Changing of the K9 guard

April 5, 2019

La PORTE – The retirement of one of the most celebrated four-legged members of the La Porte County Sheriff’s K-9 Division has opened the door for a new dog to join the force.

The Sheriff’s Department on Thursday announced the retirement of 12-year-old K-9 Hokie, which was effective April 1, according to Sheriff’s Capt. Derek Allen

Hokie, who joined the department in May 2008 “provided years of loyal and dedicated service for the Sheriff’s office and citizens of La Porte County,” he said.

Hokie and his handler, Deputy Andrew Hahn, had a successful career that included 55 public demonstrations and about 1,000 grams of suspected narcotics seized during traffic enforcement on La Porte County roadways, Allen said.

Hokie was also responsible for numerous criminal apprehensions, including some notable cases over the last decade.

• On Nov. 24, 2010, he helped apprehend an inmate attempting to escape from the La Porte County Jail.

• On Sept. 7, 2011, Hokie and Hahn assisted the FBI in tracking and apprehending a suspect wanted for the armed robbery of a bank.

• On Jan. 8, 2015, he was responsible for tracking and apprehending two armed robbery suspects, and the recovery of a firearm and the stolen currency.

• On Nov. 27, 2017, Hokie and Hahn assisted in the apprehension of a subject who was later federally indicted. The arrest of the suspect, who fled on foot following a vehicle pursuit also resulted in the recovery of 69.9 grams of methamphetamine, 28.6 grams of marijuana and two firearms.

Hahn said Hokie was “beginning to slow, but he continued sniffing out narcotics until the very end of his career.”

Even during his last shift over the past weekend, he assisted with the seizure of suspected methamphetamine, which ultimately led to a criminal arrest.

“Hokie was a great partner that I will dearly miss,” Hahn said. “However, he has more time to spend with his favorite family member playing ‘high five’ and having his stomach rubbed.”

The dog “can also occasionally enjoy his favorite treat a little more often, McDonald’s French fries, which he consumed during his last shift.”

Hokie will relax and enjoy retirement with the Hahn family in rural La Porte County, according to Allen.

His retirement left a brief vacancy in the K-9 Division, but Hahn is already working with a new partner.

“Wasting no time, Captain Dallas Smythe [K-9 Division Commander] and Deputy Hahn traveled to Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, Indiana, on Tuesday to select a new K-9,” Allen said.

They “interviewed” several dogs before selecting the newest member of the K-9 Division – Miko, a 22-month-old Belgian Malinois from Ukraine.

Miko is a “dual purpose, apprehension and narcotics detection K-9,” said Hahn, who is now “bonding with his new partner before attending a training course together in the near future.

“Miko has a tremendous amount of drive and an interesting personality,” Hahn said.

The department’s newest K-9 was purchased with money received from public donations and will not result in the use of any tax dollars or any additional cost to the taxpayers of La Porte County, Allen said.

“The generous donations are an example of the strong partnership that the citizens of La Porte County share with the Sheriff’s office.”

With the addition of Miko, the Sheriff’s Department will have four K-9s assigned to the Patrol Division.

“We are extremely excited about our newest acquisition and look forward to having Deputy Hahn and Miko trained together and making a difference in La Porte County,” Sheriff John Boyd said.

— From staff reports