A retirement celebration was held at the St. Charles County, Missouri, Police Department headquarters on September 15 to honor K-9 Tank for his legendary career.
Tank, an 8-year-old Hanoverian scent hound, retired from his duty as a K-9 officer, marking the end of his impressive career as a search and rescue and narcotics dog.
The ceremony, filled to the brim with supporters, was a fitting tribute to the four-legged hero who had served St. Charles County since 2016.
Tank’s career was marked by remarkable achievements, with 13 missing persons found and rescued thanks to his extraordinary tracking abilities.
Notably, he also played a pivotal role in apprehending multiple bank robbers, escaped inmates and homicide suspects. In all, Tank discovered more than $100,000 worth of illegal drugs.
“His success rate has really been second to none,” St. Charles County Police Chief Kurt Frisz said.
Among Tank’s high-profile cases was an armed robbery in St. Charles County and a homicide investigation in Bridgeton, where he unearthed crucial evidence, including shell casings and a bulletproof vest.
According to police officials, Tank made an immediate impact on the job.
Just 24 hours after completing his training, he helped locate a missing child with autism, followed by another successful search for a missing dementia patient a week later.
His success rate in finding missing individuals reached an impressive 47%, far exceeding the national average for police dogs, which stands at 12%.
Sergeant Mark Thomas, who oversees the county police’s K-9 officer program, lauded Tank’s innate abilities.
“Tank is just genetically gifted, and that makes him far superior to many other dogs,” he stated.
Despite his impressive track record, Tank’s journey in law enforcement was not without its challenges.
For example, he once required Narcan after exposure to fentanyl during a drug search, but bravely returned to duty.
Now, Tank’s recent back injuries have led to his early retirement on the advice of his veterinarian.
However, Officer Courtney Spiess, Tank’s handler, remains hopeful about his future.
“He’s starting to get his strength back and everything, so hopefully, he’ll be able to live out the rest of his life as my pet, which would be nice,” she shared.
Spiess ensured that Tank will enjoy a peaceful retirement. But she admitted that him leaving the force was emotional or her.
“I think it has finally hit me that, ‘Wow, our career together is over.’ I am sad about that because I don’t know what life is like without him in the car,” she said.
Spiess will soon begin training with a new K-9 partner, a female Hanoverian scent hound. While Tank might experience a touch of jealousy initially, Spiess plans to make the transition as smooth as possible, ensuring that Tank settles comfortably into his well-deserved retirement.
Frisz also acknowledged the extraordinary crowd that had gathered to celebrate Tank’s retirement.
“We don’t get this kind of crowd for our long-tenured officers … Tank has just been highly successful in both tracks and narcotics detection,” he said.
Tank’s retirement plans include relaxation, hiking, swimming and an abundance of treats. While a new K-9 officer will fill his role in the department, Tank will remain a cherished presence, regularly visiting his friends and colleagues.