Cedartown Police saying goodbye to Kai
Kai, longtime CPD police dog, bids fond farewell as new pup Baro comes aboard
The goal of every police officer is to end their career with years of retirement ahead of them, and last week that’s how one career came to an end in Cedartown.
Except this fourlegged cop won’t be spending his golden years on fishing or golf, but will instead be looking toward his partner on the force for affectionate scratches behind the ears and treats at the end of the day.
Kai, who has served the Cedartown Police Department faithfully for seven years, finished his duties with the force earlier this month and is being replaced by a new K-9, “Baro” ( pronounced like Barrow.)
Police Chief Jamie Newsome said the two Belgian Malinois will remain with their handler, Sgt. John Zuker.
“It’s typical industry wide for a dog to go to its former handler for a few reasons,” Newsome said. “The first is that you just can’t have the heart to put it to sleep. And then just your common citizen with that kind of dog would be a bad idea. You can’t rescue out a dog with this kind of training.”
“It wouldn’t be responsible for me to give that dog to just any owner and expect them to handle it like they do a Cocker spaniel,” Newsome said.
So for a minimal amount – since the dog is still technically Cedartown Police Department property – Zuker will give Kai a loving home where he can enjoy belly rubs and treats along with Zuker’s new partner Baro.
Zuker said he was sad that Kai will no longer be working with him day to day. But having chosen Baro from the same training facility - K-9 Concepts out of Louisiana, Newsome said - will make it an easier transition.
“Kai’s a big part of the family,” Zuker said. “It’s said that he’s being replaced by another dog, but we’ll still have him in our lives.”
Zuker explained that the dogs will mostly stay out of contact with each other, with Kai getting to enjoy life inside while Baro takes up the work of fighting crime.
“They’ll live in two separate kennels, and Kai gets to stay indoors now that he’s no longer working,” he said.
Kai joined the Cedartown Police Department seven years ago following the untimely death of the department’s former K-9 Dan from a gastric bloat.
His day to day duties with Zuker mainly revolved around using his nose to sniff out illegal drugs or things like explosives, and to track suspects fleeing from police or to locate missing children, what is called active and passive searching according to Newsome.
The Belgian Malinois also was trained to subdue suspects who flee from officers who might be too dangerous for law enforcement to approach, and to get into places where police might not be able to fit during search and rescue operations in hunting for survivors.
“The Cedartown Police Department uses multipurpose dogs, which are the most versatile but also sometimes the most difficult to have,” Newsome said.
Kai’s exploits have been featured several times over the years in the pages of first the Cedartown Standard, and now the Polk County Standard Journal.
Those include several drug busts and use of his trusty sense of smell to seek out suspects on the run. Most recently in last week’s edition, Kai was mentioned as part of coverage of chases on Sept. 3 in Cedartown.
He tracked down Samuel Edward Cash, 25, of 325 Fairview Ave., Cedartown, after he fled from officers following a short car chase on foot. Police arrested Cash right where Kai said he would be, having found his scent and followed it to the back door of nearby apartment.
Kai, the Cedartown Police Department’s trusted K-9, sits with his handler Sgt. John Zuker. Kai will remain with Zuker through his golden years but will have a separate kennel from his replacement Baro.