Dog days of summer for retired police canine

September 10, 2009 | Features
By Vicki L. Kroll

Although it’s been one month since Boomer retired from the UT Police Department, the German shepherd continues to adjust to his new life at home in a quiet subdivision in Perrysburg.

Betori and Boomer

Betori and Boomer

“He still thinks he’s going to work every day,” Capt. John Betori said about his former four-legged partner. “He whines when he can’t go with me. It’ll be worse when I have a uniform on.”

Boomer’s last day on the job was July 29. Betori left the University Aug. 7 to become police chief at Owens Community College, where he’ll start a police department from scratch.

“Working with Boomer was the greatest job in the world,” Betori said. “It killed me to give it up.”

Boomer worked at UT seven years with Betori, a 2002 alumnus, who patrolled his alma mater’s campuses 21 years. In fact, the University was the first in Ohio to have a dog trained in bomb detection and tracking.

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 since 2002 and at high-profile campus events, including presidential campaign stops by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.

Boomer and Betori also helped police departments in other jurisdictions, checking Cleveland Browns Stadium before all home games since 2002 and sniffing the greens of Highland Meadows Golf Club before the Jamie Farr tournament since 2005.

“UT’s K-9 unit has assisted nearly all local and federal agencies in the area with bomb threats over the years,” Betori said. “Boomer even worked with the Secret Service during national elections in 2004 and 2008.”

Helping Boomer learn to relax is Nina, a 7-year-old German shepherd.

“It’s good Nina is here. She likes that Boomer’s here all day,” Betori said. “He’s retiring when he’s still healthy and can enjoy life. He’ll be 9 this winter.”

While there’ll be no more calls in the middle of the night to respond to, Boomer still is ready for anything. During the photo shoot, he was waiting for Betori’s command. One word and the dog hit his mark.

And once the photos were taken, Boomer was quick to roll over for a belly rub.

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