GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Police Department (GRPD) announced Wednesday that their longtime police canine, Atos, retired Saturday.
Atos is trained in explosive detection and patrol functions, and served the community for eight years. He performed an estimated 200 sweeps of Van Andel Arena throughout his career and often served at election campaign events. GRPD officials say Atos performed sweeps before presidential candidates visited Grand Rapids during election seasons.
Atos was also friendly, and often the canine taken to events.
“If you’ve seen one of our K9s at a neighborhood or school event, it was most likely Atos,” said handler Sgt. Jeff Dionne.
Atos later earned the nickname "Toasty" after a friend of Dionne's daughter misheard his name as "Hot Toast."
Atos will now enjoy retirement at home with the Dionne family.
“We are looking forward to having Atos as a family pet and relaxing his training and feeding requirements,” said Dionne. “We plan on giving him lots of treats.”
On Sunday, canine Rip joined the GRPD to take over for Atos. 18-month-old Rip and his handler, Officer Jake Newton, specialize in narcotics detection and patrol functions.
The addition of Rip was funded in part by the Grand Rapids Police Foundation, which helps fund the canine unit.
“K9s are an important part of police work,” said Sgt. Tim Hoornstra, who oversees the department's canine unit. “We appreciate the foundation’s support of these dogs to help keep our community safe.”
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