FAIRBORN — He’s loyal, dedicated and for six years never left the side of his partner while on and off duty.
He’s also friendly and approachable, weighs 75 pounds, has short blonde fur and floppy ears, and his own Facebook page. And he likes to bark.
He’s Tito, the first K-9 officer to serve on the Wright State University police force.
After serving with Sgt. Richard Coy, his handler, since 2008, the yellow Labrador Retriever recently retired.
“We’ve been around a lot and made a lot of good friends,” Coy said. “He’s very protective of me.”
Tito specialized in finding narcotics. The Police Department’s other K-9 officer, Galli, a Belgian Malinois, is trained to find explosives and is most often used for safety sweeps before large events.
In addition to working on campus, Coy and Tito assisted other jurisdictions, including police departments in Beavercreek, Fairborn and the Ohio State Highway Patrol, as well as local school districts.
They also conducted more than 100 K-9 demonstrations throughout central Ohio, where Tito would show how he finds narcotics and Coy would discuss what it is like to serve as a K-9 handler. Assisting other departments and participating in demonstrations is important because it helped promote the Police Department and its K-9 unit, Coy said.
Coy wanted to be a police officer since he was 8, and it was his dream job to become a K-9 handler. He is also a firefighter/EMT in Washington Court House.
He says that it’s important to serve the community and help others. “That’s the type of person I am. I just like to help people as much as I can,” he said. “If I can make a difference for one or two people, that makes my night.”
Coy says he was lucky to get Tito as his police dog because he fits so well into his family. “The kids love him to death, too,” Coy said of his two young daughters. At home, Tito acts like a regular dog and enjoys playing in the yard, playing fetch and hanging out with the family.
The police department received many donations from individuals and organizations to support Tito, including dog food and toys from Mars Petcare, grooming from Fairborn Pet Grooming, veterinary care from Banfield Pet Hospital and Wright State’s Department of Laboratory Animal Resources and a bulletproof vest from the Vest-A-Dog Network.
Story by Bob Mihalek, Wright State University.