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Converse County Residents Mourn Loss Of Beloved K-9 Officer Trigger

in News/dogs
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By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd Thursday when Converse County Sheriff’s K-9 Officer Trigger received his final call.

Residents from across the county, including dozens of children, stood with law enforcement officers as deputies carried the canine’s flag-draped casket out of the veterinarian’s office where Trigger had died from cancer.  

The beloved K-9 will be greatly missed, Cpl. Mark Dexter, Trigger’s handler, said Tuesday.

And the loss will be as keenly felt by Trigger’s law enforcement family as it will by members of the community who helped bring him to Douglas.



Trigger has been with the department since April 2014, after CCSO presented the idea of starting a K-9 unit. The department didn’t have funding for the program, Dexter said, so it reached out to the community for donations.

The response was overwhelming. 

“Within a couple weeks, we had way more than I ever needed for the canine program donated to us,” he said. “From parents that gave us their last $5 for the month all the way up to big businesses that donated thousands of dollars. It was pretty amazing.”

In total, he thinks somewhere around $50,000 was donated. Enough for Dexter, who was chosen by the department to be the handler for the new program, to bring an 18-month-old Belgian Malinois back to Douglas. 

It was local elementary school children who chose the name Trigger and they received frequent visits from the dog at school assemblies and community events throughout his career.

The community’s generosity didn’t end there. Over the last several years, the donations continued to pour in, from checks from residents and businesses made out to Trigger to free food, heavily discounted vet bills, grooming and more. 

He was definitely the community’s K-9, and with good reason. 

Trigger earned his keep. 



With an ability to detect up to five different drug odors, Trigger was dispatched anywhere from 100 to 150 times per year. 

Dexter has no idea how many pounds of drugs Trigger took off the streets during his career. He estimated Dexter was responsible for the seizure of $500,000 to $1 million worth of drugs each year.

“Not bad for one dog,” Dexter said.

The two spent a lot of time training, Dexter said, and were constant companions, with Trigger living with in the family’s heated garage.

Trigger wasn’t given treats or even allowed to come inside until the last weeks of his life this fall, when his cancer grew increasingly worse. That’s when all of the rules went out the door as Dexter’s wife Tanisha and children fed him plenty of dog snacks which, as it turned out, Trigger quite liked.

Along with his family and the community, the sheriff’s department is taking Trigger’s loss hard. He was like a partner, Dexter said. The pair spent a lot of time together, and Dexter said he shared a lot of secrets with his partner.

For now, Dexter is waiting until the new year before he starts looking around for a new K-9. He wants to take a little time to let everyone grieve and get through the holidays. 

“He was a good dog,” he said. 

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Platte County Sheriff K9s Receiving Body Armor Donation

in News/Good news
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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Three Platte County Sheriff K9 officers will soon receive body armor thanks to a charitable donation.

K9 officers Pancho, Picolo and Toro will receive bullet and stab protective vests as the result of a donation from the nonprofit organization Vested Interest in K9s, which provides these type of vests to law enforcement and related agency animals.

Pancho’s vest is sponsored by Scott and Carol Pollard of Big Flats, New Yorkm and will be embroidered with the sentiment, “In memory of Boreal.”

Picolo’s vest is sponsored by Robin Zoller of Latham, New York and will be embroidered with the sentiment “Born to Love – Trained to Serve – Loyal Always.”

Toro’s vest will be embroidered with the sentiment, “In honor of Chief Mark Estell, Jerome, Illinois.”

A request for comment placed to the sheriff’s department wasn’t immediately returned.

Delivery of the vests is expected in to eight to 10 weeks. The body armor for the K9 officers is U.S.-made and custom-fitted.

Since its inception in 2009, Vested Interest has provided more than 4,210 vests to K9 officers in all 50 states at a value of $6.9 million, made possible by both private and corporate donations.

Each vest has a value of $1,744 to $2,283, weighs an average of 4-5 lbs., and comes with a five-year warranty.

The program is open to U.S. dogs at least 20 months old and actively employed and certified with law enforcement or related agencies.

There are an estimated 30,000 K9 officers in the United States.

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