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May 09th, 2021

niko retirementSgt. Bo Jacobs of the Seward County Sheriff’s office, right, watches as Niko playfully attacks some of the toys he was given at his retirement reception Thursday. L&T photo/Robert PierceROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times

 

On a regular basis, Seward County hosts retirement receptions for its outgoing employees.

Most of those employees, though, are of the two-legged variety. Thursday, county workers said goodbye to one of their four-legged friends and coworkers, Niko, a K-9 officer for several years with the Seward County Sheriff’s office.

Before arriving in the U.S., Niko was born May 5, 2013, in Poland. He was purchased when he was 14 months old with the assistance of the local Baughman Foundation and has been with the sheriff’s office since 2014.

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When Niko was flown from Poland to Kansas City, sometime during the flight, he woke up and in typical fashion, chewed a hole through his crate, just big enough to fit his head through.

“This was the sign of things to come,” Sheriff Gene Ward said at Niko’s retirement reception. “In Niko’s career, he is responsible for the demolishment of a steering wheel and door panel in his patrol car, a rubber door-stop in the office and several cardboard boxes.”

Ward said this was just for starters, as was a book that was taking too much of Sgt. Bo Jacobs’, Niko’s handler, attention away from him.

Jacobs went to the eastern Kansas community of Ottawa to spend eight weeks training and bonding with Niko.“That bond was instant, and the two graduated the class, and they came home not only as a working team, but much more importantly as partners,” Ward said. “Niko was trained in narcotics detection, suspect apprehension and tracking.”

Niko has assisted multiple agencies surrounding Seward County, as well as the Kansas Bureau of Investigations, Kansas Highway Patrol, District Taskforce and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Niko is certified through two nationally recognized organizations, the Kansas Police Dog Association and National Narcotics Detector Dog Association.

In Niko’s career, he has been deployed 632 times, seized approximately half a million dollars in cash and narcotics, thousands of pounds in illegal narcotics, performed hundreds of tracks and assisted with numerous search warrants.

“Niko has been an integral part in keeping drugs and criminals off the streets and schools of Seward County,” Ward said. “Niko has done numerous demos and brought many smiles and laughter to our youth in surrounding schools over the years.”

Ward said to some people, Niko is only a dog, but to Sgt. Jacobs, the now former K-9 officer is so much more.

“Bo and Niko have been by each others’ side for the past seven and a half years,” Ward said. “Niko is a partner to Bo and without a doubt has always had his back. The bond between a K-9 handler and a K-9 could never be put into words or really understood unless it is experienced personally. When Bo gets out of his patrol vehicle, you can rest assure Niko was watching every move, making sure Bo is safe.”

As is tradition with many former K-9 officers, Niko was sold to Jacobs. In Niko’s retirement, Deputy Wyatt Sharp and his partner K-9, Wrasel, will take over the watch in keeping Seward County safe and battling the war on drugs.

“Please join me in wishing Niko a wonderful and fun retirement,” Ward said.

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