After seven years on the job sniffing out and taking a bite out of crime, Williamsburg Police K-9 Vicko has retired.
Vicko, who came to the department in 2013, has been partnered with Sgt. Eljiah Hunter since 2015.
Hunter said Vicko was the first K-9 that he worked with.
“To me, it just looked like something I would be interested in,” Hunter said when asked how he became the K-9 officer adding that part of being the K-9 officer is always being on call for Williamsburg and other area departments.
“It was a little different until we bonded,” Hunter said of working with Vicko. “It took me some time to figure him out and him time to figure me out.”
Hunter said over the years, the bond continued to grow until he and Vicko were essentially on the same page.
“He was pretty much a push-button dog,” Hunter said of Vicko. “He knew what I was going to ask him to do, whether it was searching for drugs, tracking an individual, or finding a suspect, by what equipment I put on him.”
In addition to their work with Williamsburg, Hunter said he and Vicko were called to assist Whitley County Sheriff’s Department, Kentucky State Police, Corbin Police and Jellico Police.
“We have even worked some with McCreary County Sheriff’s Department, ATF and other agencies,” Hunter said.
Vicko was forced into retirement because of arthritis in his hips and spine.
“He started having trouble getting in and out of the car,” Hunter said noting that after Vicko fell while attempting to get in the car, he took him to the vet.
Following his retirement, Vicko has remained at Hunter’s house where he has become the family pet and will live out the remainder of his days.
“My wife is making sure he gets lots of treats,” Hunter said.
Vicko is also getting the opportunity to bond with the new K-9.
Hunter is also the handler for K-9 Thor.
“Thor is like having a 2-year-old who has drank a bottle of Mountain Dew and eaten a Reese’s Cup,” Hunter said noting that at just one-year-old he is still a pup and is learning the job.
“Their kennels are side by side,” Hunter said of Vicko and Thor explaining that while they didn’t get along at first, they have bonded.
While he is enjoying his role as a K-9 officer, Hunter said coming to work without Vicko is different.
“It doesn’t feel right,” Hunter said.