Retired AST K9 dies after distinguished career in law enforcement

Published: Oct. 6, 2017 at 2:48 PM AKDT
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Alaska State Troopers in Ketchikan are reporting a retired K9 officer has died from a blood clot.

Lutri, a 7-year-old German Shepherd, had a long career in law enforcement. Some of his accomplishments includes the recovery of over 300 grams of heroin and $380,000 in cash.

Retired K9 Lutri initially served with the Dillingham Police Department, according to AST. But when DPD's canine program ended in 2014, K9 Lutri moved to Ketchikan and served with Troopers, until his retirement in April, 2017.

Megan Peters, an AST public information officer, shared the amount of drugs Lutri recovered in his career:

- Black tar heroin: 264.14 grams

- Powder heroin: 84.2 grams

- Meth (crystal): 1814.22 grams

- Marijuana: 36,828.19 grams

- Pills: 434

- Psilocybin mushrooms: 34 grams

- 1 Fentanyl patch

- 5 Suboxone strips

- Currency: $380,692.68

Sgt. Steve Zeisel, the Alaska State Troopers canine coordinator, says the value of K9 officers to the Troopers is immeasurable. The dogs are excellent partners, they complement the mission and they are able to deescalate situations.

"Oftentimes they've resulted in a peaceful situation that might have turned out violent," said Zeisel.

Zeisel explains there are two types of K9 officers working with Troopers - drug detection dogs and patrol dogs. Lutri was a detection dog but Zeisel explains patrol dogs are no less valuable.

In Zeisel's experience, people are a lot less willing to address a canine if they're being apprehended, making them much more likely to cooperate. People have a healthy respect of police canines, says Zeisel.

Peters explains that when a K9 officer retires, its new owner is in charge of making funeral arrangements. Troopers give the dog's handler first option to adopt a retiring K9 officer, in the instance of Lutri his handler had adopted him. Zeisel says he also adopted his K9 partner after nine years working together.

"Handlers are with their dog longer than they're with there family, they literally go home with them, go to work with them. They're a constant partner, 24-hours a day seven days a week," said Zeisel.