Meet the Lynnwood Police Department K-9s

The Lynnwood Police Department K-9s.

The Lynnwood Police Department is filled with men and women willing to risk their lives daily to ensure the safety of Lynnwood residents. However, those officers aren’t the only ones at the department working hard to keep the city safe.

The LPD also has four furry friends that go to work with their handlers every day to protect citizens in times of need. Lynnwood Police K-9s Chase, Cannon, Rico and Kiro take their jobs as officers very seriously.

Lynnwood residents get a quick glimpse of the K-9s at city events such as Cops with Kids and the Fair on 44th, but not much else is shared about the dogs’ lives both on and off the clock and what they had to do to become LPD K-9s.

All four of Lynnwood’s K-9s are German Shepherds and are cross trained, said K-9 Sgt. Jacob Shorthill. 

“This means that they are trained for the patrol side, which is searching for criminals that have fled from a violent crime or a serious domestic violence situation,” Shorthill said. “They are then cross trained to detect the odor of illegal narcotics as mentioned above.”

Each K-9 team – both the dog and handler – had to undergo 400 hours of initial training. During this time, teams work on basic heeling and commands, tracking human odor from point A to B, bite work for the apprehension of a suspect, and building, area and evidence searching.

“This is a very intensive 10 weeks of training and we additionally study case law, basic K-9 medical care, tactical decision making, scenario-based training and a great deal of play to build the bond with these guys,” Shorthill said. “Additionally, narcotic detection is 200 hours, where we teach them to alert to the odors of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and crack cocaine.”

Every two years, the teams are required to recertify by taking and passing the accreditation tests in both general patrol and narcotics.

K-9 Chase (Photo courtesy of Officer Shorthill)

K-9 Chase

Chase has been Shorthill’s partner for two and a half years. When he first became a member of the family, his name was Rico, but since the LPD already had a K-9 named Rico, Chase needed a name change. Shorthill’s then-5-year-old son was obsessed with the show Paw Patrol and was adamant the new pup be named after his favorite pooch on the show.

At age 3, Chase is the youngest K-9 in Lynnwood. However, his age does not deter him from doing well on the job. Chase and Shorthill have successfully apprehended 19 criminals and have 21 narcotics charges under their belts since being paired together.

While Shorthill said that he can’t recall a time that Chase has directly saved his life on the job, he said having a K-9 with him has been a serious psychological deterrent to suspects whom he felt would have been more likely to assault him or flee the scene had he been working alone without Chase’s help.

Shorthill said his favorite thing to do with his K-9 is training exercises.

“These dogs are bred to be working dogs and searching for odor is what they love to do,” he said. “Chase gets out of the car looking for something to track and it’s a big game to [him] with a lot of fun at the end. Watching him work is really fun.”

Chase is a fairly hyper pup, and Shorthill said his sassy personality comes out in full force during training exercises.

“During obedience or narcotic detection, he likes to bark at me and snap his teeth,” he said. “But it’s very playful because he knows after doing a skill properly he will get his tug toy.”

Outside of work, Chase likes to continue his active lifestyle by running around with Shorthill’s kids in his large, fenced yard.

“His best friend is my 7-year-old boy,” Shorthill said. “Chase has a large blue ball that was his from the kennel we purchased him at. He carries it with him everywhere, and his favorite game is to play keep away with it. True to his name, he loves to chase sticks or anything we throw for him.”

K-9 Cannon (Photo courtesy of Officer Magnussen)

K-9 Cannon

K-9 Cannon – age 4 – has been Officer Josh Magnussen’s partner for two years. Cannon and Magnussen take their jobs very seriously, having 13 criminal captures. 

Cannon has been deployed 27 times for narcotics searches. In that time, he has helped officers confiscate 2.42 pounds of illegal narcotics, six illegal firearms and over $1,800 in contraband. The K-9’s strong nose has led to 28 suspect arrests for narcotics in Lynnwood.

Magnussen said that while Cannon has never directly saved his life, his presence has definitely protected him from potentially escalated dangerous situations.

“He is a great deterrent for people who hear a dog barking in the patrol car,” Magnussen said. “They quickly change their behavior.”

Magnussen said his favorite thing to do on the job with Cannon is getting to deploy him to track a fleeing suspect. Off the job, Magnussen likes riding his dirt bike and having Cannon chase him to burn off some of his bounding energy.

K-9 Cannon also likes to maintain an active lifestyle while he is off duty. Magnussen said when Cannon is in his kennel, which is anytime his handler is not directly with him due to his chewing habits, he will destroy anything that is not tied to the walls while waiting to be let out to play.

“He loves carrying anything he can find such as large branches, logs or his ball,” Magnussen said. “He loves being around the family when we go paddle boarding on the lake. He will sit on the paddleboard or swim after his ball.”

Every day after work, K-9 Cannon gets a frozen chicken thigh as a reward for doing a good job on patrol.

Magnussen said Cannon has a weird quirk. When he is unsure what Magnussen is asking of him, the dog starts doing all of his commands in succession until he gets rewarded for the right one.

K-9 Rico and his handler, Officer Sam Zacharia (Photo courtesy of Officer Zacharia)

K-9 Rico

Officer Sam Zacharia and his K-9 companion Rico have been partners for four years. In that time, the K-9 team has been responsible for over 100 overall arrests – 45 general suspects and a multitude of narcotic tracks that have led to 63 more arrests.

Zacharia said when he first got Rico, the dog wouldn’t even react to his own name. The team put in a lot of work during their initial training course to get Rico up to speed with all the other K-9s.

Rico has been a great asset to the team and Zacharia said he has indirectly saved his life numerous times.

“The use of a police K-9 is a much safer way to search for and apprehend violent criminals,” he said. “The dog can detect the odor of the bad guy even when they are in a concealed location. Many criminals do not want to mess with dogs. I have been told by criminals that I was lucky I had a dog with me.”

Zacharia said his favorite thing to do with Rico is train and track.

“Rico loves to work,” he said. “He sees training and working as playing. He is happiest when he’s searching for bad guys and illegal narcotics.”

Rico is surprisingly calm when he is off duty, opting to snooze around the house rather than zip around or chew on household items like some of his K-9 coworkers.

“Rico is really chill outside of work,” his handler said. “He likes to relax in his kennel and play with my other two dogs.”

Zacharia said a strange quirk about Rico is that he has enormous feet and long, webbed toes.

“With feet the size of canoe paddles you would think he would love the water,” he said. “However, although he is a great swimmer, he is not a huge fan of it.”

K-9 Kiro (Photo courtesy of Officer Creech)

K-9 Kiro

K-9 Kiro has been with the LPD for over three years and has been partnered with Officer Warren Creech for the past two years. The K-9 team has been responsible for 13 general suspect arrests and 18 narcotic charges.

Like other K-9 handlers, Creech said he can’t think of an outright situation where Kiro has saved his life, but he’s sure it has indirectly happened more times than he realizes.

“It is hard to know what actions a criminal suspect may have taken if the dog were not present,” Creech said. “Suspects who might otherwise fight or resist may choose to surrender when the dog comes near. We have recovered firearms during tracks from suspects who abandoned them as they fled from the K-9 team. Absent the active track by the dog, the suspect may have chosen to keep and use the guns against searching officers.”

Kiro enjoys spending his time off duty sleeping as much as possible.

“Despite all of the energy he has at work, Kiro is quite lazy around our house on his days off,” he said. “He gets the run of the house and chooses comfy couches or beds to sleep on while my young kids are up and playing. He tends to bring his Kong toy with him from room to room.”

Kiro also enjoys going on vacation with his family. Creech said he loves running toward and biting at the waves as they roll onto the beach.

A quirk about Kiro is that he can be quite aloof.

“Kiro doesn’t always have the best spatial awareness,” his handler said. “He has a habit of knocking things over with his tail and startling himself.”

— By Lauren Reichenbach

  1. Thank you for sharing such beautiful stories about our K-9 dogs and their partners. The Lynnwood Police Department and the citizens of Lynnwood are so lucky to have them working for us. May they always be safe and healthy and have a long career with the Lynnwood Police Department. My prayers are with them and all the Police and Fire Fighters who serve Lynnwood to keep Lynnwood a safe place to live.

    1. Lynda I couldn’t have said it better. Thank you for this inspiring message. How lucky Lynnwood is to have such beautiful brave furbabies and the Officers who take care of them. Bless all of you!!!

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