Andover Police Department welcomes new K9

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For a K9 officer, finding their target is like finding a needle in a haystack. Thor has been reporting for duty in Andover for almost 10 years. It's almost time for him to hang up his leash. 

The rookie taking his place came all the way from Texas. 

"There only needed to be one dog. The right one," says the Andover Chief of Police.

That right dog is Roko, a 16-month-old German Shepard who competed with 10 other dogs for the job. 

"We graded each dog on how fast they ran over there, how long they stayed out there searching for the toy, if they found the toy, if they didn't find the toy," says Deshaun Smith, Roko's handler. 

Roko passed every test with flying colors, but the one true test wouldn't come until later. 

"He was letting everyone pet on him and love on him and he was just fine," says Smith. 

Roko's work will include searching for missing people, chasing criminals, and sniffing out drugs. In Andover, K9's also make public appearances and visit schools, so play is just as important as work. Roko checked both boxes.

"I can grab his foot, I can open up his mouth and he won't do anything to me," says Smith. 

Roko's handler, Officer Smith, just met his new sidekick earlier this month, but he says they're already inseparable. 

"When you're at work, you're with them. When you're at home, you're with them, you take care of them, you take them to the vet visits," says Smith.

For Smith, there's nothing quite like the bond between a K9 and his handler.

"He's like my son, so I'll do anything for him and I want him to be the best dog he can be," says Smith.