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Auraria Police Department K9 Dash retires

Say hello to Auraria’s new explosives dog, Jet

Jet loves both work and play.
Photo: Taelar Johansen · The Sentry

If the lack of a certain golden retriever has been noticed on campus, that’s because Dash, the Auraria Campus Police Department’s explosive detection K9, has officially retired. To fill the hole that Dash’s departure has left in the hearts of those on the Auraria Campus, Jet is the newest addition to the Auraria Campus Police Department.

After a diagnosis from his vet late last semester that signaled Dash’s inability to perform his job to the highest standard, his retirement process began.

“He was pretty popular,” said Officer Corey Averill,  Dash and Jet’s handler. “Essentially, since Dash wasn’t able to meet the demands we needed him to, Dash retired as our pet. He’s going to live out his life as a regular dog.”

Now, at the age of three, Dash is spending his retirement doing what he loves: spending time with the Averill family and his buddy Denali, Officer Averill’s labradoodle mix.

Once it became clear that Dash would no longer serve on the Auraria PD force, the search began for a new K9 to protect the Auraria Campus. That’s where Jet comes in, gangly paws, airplane-like ears, and a hardworking attitude in tow.

In his two-and-a-half years, Jet has spent his time serving and protecting as many people as possible. Before joining the Auraria PD, Jet served as a certified FEMA search and rescue dog in New York. He is trained to be a first responder in the case of building collapse and mass casualty events, such as rescuing individuals trapped in the rubble of buildings.

Once he finished his duties in New York, he found his way back to Colorado and to the same trainer that the Auraria PD went to when looking for their first explosive detection K9. In November 2018, Officer Averill and Jet began their training to certify him as Auraria PD’s newest explosive detection K9. His first day serving the Auraria Campus was Jan. 21.

Explosive-detecting K9s are required to undergo monthly certifications to ensure top-notch training. In addition to maintaining his explosive-detecting certifications, the Auraria PD is looking into how to keep his FEMA search and rescue certification.

“It helps having had the experience from Dash,” Officer Averill explained about learning Jet’s personality and the ins and outs of working as a K9 Officer. “With this dog, it’s been a lot easier because I knew what I was looking for; I knew a lot more about reading dog behavior, so it’s been a lot easier going forward.”

Jet’s favorite thing to do is to work, explained Officer Averill.

“My gosh, he doesn’t stop,” Averill said about Jet’s personality. “He just wants to hunt and search and just play, nonstop.” Jet is a diligent, hard-working dog, fully aware of his job of keeping the Auraria Campus safe. His favorite activities are playing tug-of-war or fetch and working—his reward for working and discovering scents is more playing.

When his time on campus is over for the day, Jet heads home with Officer Averill to spend time playing with Dash and Denali.

If Jet and Officer Averill are seen working on campus, be cautious before approaching the team and ask before petting Jet. Jet can also be found on his Instagram page, @AurariaK9.

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