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Duke, Renville County Sheriff’s Office K-9 officer, to retire this week

Duke, the Renville County Sheriff’s Office’s K-9 officer, Duke, is set to retire Thursday, April 28, after nine years on the job.

On patrol since 2013, Duke was the Renville County Sheriff’s Office’s first K-9 officer. He was assigned to Deputy Luke Jacques throughout his career. On Duke’s first case, he was responsible for the recovery of 10 ounces of methamphetamine and the seizure of $2,200 in drug money seized from a dealer passing through Renville County.

Through their partnership, Luke and Duke recovered controlled substances, located missing people,  and searched for and apprehended offenders fleeing law enforcement.  Luke and Duke have made many appearances at special events and civic group meetings, and have talked to hundreds of kids at area schools about the Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement and police K-9s.

In addition to being a narcotics-detecting dog, Duke was trained in tracking human odor and in criminal apprehension, which includes holding suspects when instructed to do so.  However, in multiple instances, Duke’s mere presence and loud barking was enough to convince suspects to surrender.

“Duke’s bark, ferocious growl and huge teeth are very intimidating.” said Deputy Jacques.  “However, he is one of the most loving and approachable K-9s, especially with kids, that I’ve met.  He can turn his aggression on and off like it’s on a switch.”

Duke’s success was partly because of support he received from various sources within the community.  As an example, an anonymous donor came forward and donated the protective ballistic vest that Duke wore.  Duke received veterinary care throughout his career, donated by Dr. Diane Hansgen at the Fairfax Veterinary Clinic and Chiropractor Brian Boen at Health Enhancement in Bird Island.  A separate anonymous donor donated all of Duke’s food.

Following his retirement, due to age and declining physical abilities, it is anticipated  Duke will continue to live with Deputy Jacques and his family, which is where he has resided throughout his life.

“Duke has been a really great dog and it has been an honor to be his handler.” concluded Deputy Jacques.  “We’re looking forward to allowing him to live life at a much slower pace in retirement.”

The Renville County Sheriff’s Office is hoping to acquire another dog in the near future to replace Duke and continue the K-9 program in Renville County.

Career Stats

  • 380 Deployments
  • Recovery of 1,245 grams of controlled substances
  • Assisted in the apprehension of 5 individuals who fled from law enforcement

Awards

  • 2nd place Team in Agility at United States Police Canine Association in 2015
  • 3rd place Team in Suspect Search by United States Police Canine Association in 2014
  • 5 Patrol Case Medallions from the United States Police Canine Association for his work in tracking and apprehension
  • “Patrol Case of the Quarter – National Police Canine Assn. – Second Quarter 2020

Other fun facts about Luke and Duke:

  • Although Duke was born in Minnesota, Duke’s parents, grandparents, great-grandparents (and five more generations before them!) were police dogs in the Czech Republic.
  • Out of a choice of five names, “Duke”, was the name chosen by students of Renville County schools.  Their choices at the time included Duke, Ace, Axle, Titan and Diesel.
  • Duke’s favorite treat is a raw hide.
  • Duke’s favorite game to play is “Chuck-it” at the park.  It involves fetching a tennis ball from long distances.
  • Duke’s closest friends to play with are a black lab named Hank and a pug named Buster.
  • Deputy Jacques’ children have nicknamed Duke, “Bubba”.
  • When at work, Duke rides in a special enclosure in the back of Deputy Jacques’ squad car.  The car is specially equipped to, among other things, automatically roll the windows down and start fans if the temperature inside gets too high.
  • In addition to his work with the Sheriff’s Office, Duke was assigned with Deputy Jacques as a SWAT Officer with the Brown-Lyon-Redwood-Renville Emergency Response Unit (SWAT Team).
  • While at the Sheriff’s Office, Duke usually makes his way around the office to “visit” all of the deputies, dispatchers and other staff, who usually greet Duke with a back scratch or a treat.
  • Deputy Jacques’ most memorable event with Duke was the apprehension of a suspect who had fled from a traffic stop.  It was a very hot summer day with high humidity and not ideal tracking conditions.  They tracked the suspect for several miles through a series of fields and ditches.  Because of the high heat, Deputy Jacques would occasionally carry Duke on his shoulders to give him a rest.  Ultimately, Duke located and apprehended the subject, who was taken into custody for several outstanding arrest warrants and for fleeing from police.

 



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