Retired canine officer passes away

August 23, 2012 | News, UToday
By Vicki L. Kroll


Boomer, a German shepherd trained in bomb detection and tracking that worked at UT from 2002 until his retirement in 2009, died Aug. 13 at age 11.

The dog’s partner was John Betori, a 2002 UT alumnus, who patrolled his alma mater’s campuses 21 years before leaving in 2009 to become director of public safety/chief of police at Owens Community College.

“Boomer was a big part of the UT family and, after his retirement, really became a big part of my family as well,” Betori said. “I was proud to have had the chance to represent The University of Toledo Police Department for nearly eight years with him at my side.”

While on duty, UT’s K-9 unit provided protection details and patrolled public events to ensure safety. Boomer’s detection ability was put to use at all home UT football games from 2002 to 2008 and at high-profile campus events, including presidential campaign stops by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.

Boomer and Betori also assisted police departments in other jurisdictions, checking Cleveland Browns Stadium before all home games from 2002 through 2008 and sniffing the greens of Highland Meadows Golf Club before the Jamie Farr tournament. The two also helped federal agencies with bomb threats.

UT Police Chief Jeff Newton said, “Boomer provided many years of faithful service, fearlessly placing his life on the line every day for the protection of the UT community. Boomer has been missed since his retirement in 2009, and we are all deeply saddened to learn of his passing.”

“I hope that the friendships and working relationships Boomer helped build will last for many years to come,” Betori said. “His passing leaves a large void in our hearts, but the memories will last forever.”

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