The Farmington Police Department mourned after the loss K-9 Office Figo in June following a brief illness, but his legacy after eight years of service to the community allowed for a new recruit to follow.
Since September, a new officer for the city has been training with his new partner to hit the streets of his community and live up to the standards set by Figo.
For the last month, Officer Josh Shearrer and K-9 Officer Ringo, a three-and-a-half year old Dutch Shepard and Belgium Malinois, have been riding together as partners on the night shift.
“I was lucky enough to work with Cpl. Brad Williams and Figo throughout their career,” Shearrer said. “It was pretty fascinating to me, and I knew it was something I would want to do.”
According to Shearrer, the decision to purchase another K-9 was made shortly before Figo passed. Originally, the department wanted to have two working K-9s, but unfortunately that was not going to happen.
As the department was now in the position of needing a new K-9 officer, Shearrer and Williams went back to the same kennel where Figo was from -Vohne Liche Kennels in Indiana - and began the process of bringing a new officer on board.
“The whole way up to Indiana, I was nervous,” Shearrer said. “But Brad told me not to worry. I would know the right one when I saw it.”
Once the two officers arrived at the kennel, they begin looking at the available dogs. According Shearrer, staff at Vohne Liche had about 12 to 15 dogs they were prepared to show, but after viewing only five dogs, Shearrer found his partner.
“We had watched five dogs go by when they pulled Ringo out,” Shearrer said. “I liked his demeanor. He still had some puppy, but he was more mature than the others, and he was good looking.”
Shearrer added after watching him work a little, he was able to take Ringo out and the two seemed to click.
After hitting it off, Shearrer and Ringo were able to spend a week together back in Farmington, so the two could get to know each other.
“We had about a week together before my class began on Sept. 25,” Shearrer said. “I was up there until Nov. 3.”
For six weeks, the two partners trained together, learning how to detect narcotics, apprehend, search buildings and tracking. Like Figo, Ringo is also a dual purpose K-9.
“Ringo was glued to my hip most of the day,” Shearrer said. “It was pretty fast paced, but there were times when we did slow things down and be much more methodical about what we were doing.”
Although Ringo and Shearrer’s partnership began in September, the two did not hit the streets together until Nov. 5.
“Right now, I am just a road officer and he is currently my partner,” Shearrer said. “We are currently on night shift, but I think we will be going to days soon.”
Although the two are working nights, the department has already utilized Ringo’s special talents.
“We have already searched a few cars and have been called down to Probation and Parole,” Shearrer said. “We haven’t turned up anything yet, but we haven’t been at it that long yet.”
As an officer, Ringo brings a whole new set of talents to the force. He can be used to detect narcotics, help track lost children and even assist in apprehensions. But he also provides some assurance on the home front as well.
“It’s a different dynamic but it is reassuring,” said Shearrer’s wife, Angie. “Although it is not another human being in the vehicle with him, Ringo definitely does offer a lot of assistance and support to Josh, so it’s nice to know he has that option.”