Niko, a beautiful Belgian Malinois, retired after working his last shift at the end of March 2007. Niko was assigned to his partner Corporal Paul Reyes in 2000. This canine team was trained and certified in patrol work, tracking and article searching. Niko performed more than 30 tracking searches in his career, and made numerous canine apprehensions, sometimes by simply having his handler make an announcement that Niko would be sent in.
One of Niko’s most notable apprehensions came after the Oceanside Police Department requested canine assistance after their plainclothes detectives got into a foot pursuit with a felony warrant parolee at large. Detectives lost the suspect in a residential neighborhood, and that’s where Niko came in. After the perimeter was set, Niko began his track at the last known location of the suspect. Niko alerted and began tracking between houses to the back of a residence where Niko found and bit the suspect hiding in some bushes. The OPD sergeant on scene stated that had it not been for Niko, they would have never found the suspect because the suspect had concealed himself so well.
Corporal Reyes and Niko participated in the 2006 Riverside County Sheriff’s K-9 Competition where they were awarded a third place trophy for Field Searching. In addition, Corporal Reyes took it upon himself to develop an eight-hour canine handler orientation class, which he will continue to teach to new handlers as they are selected into the unit.
We thank Corporal Reyes and Niko for their dedication to the canine unit and seven tireless years of hard work and commitment. Niko quickly adjusted to being retired, enjoying playing with his family and joining them on their regular trips to the desert and Northern California. He passed away in 2008 and is deeply missed by the Reyes family.