Officer Timo, a K-9 with the North Pekin Police Department, will soon step down, with all four paws, after 10 years of distinguished service.
“He’s been doing a great job, but he has health issues,” said Stephen Flowers, mayor of North Pekin. “He has some paw problems. He’s still very active, but he can’t perform without some pain.”
While Timo’s aching, aging paws are forcing him into retirement, the community will still have K-9 drug-sniffing and missing person tracking services, said Flowers. The North Pekin Village Board approved the purchase of Timo’s replacement, Qway, during its regular meeting in late October, according to Flowers. The purchase was funded by money collected from drug-related fines.
“The money used to pay for the new dog is money that Timo generated,” said Patrick Landrith, North Pekin police chief. “It’s a benefit for the people of North Pekin because they’re not paying for the dog. Timo paid for his own replacement. If the new dog’s as good a K-9 as Timo, he’ll pay for his replacement down the road, too.”
Like his distinguished predecessor, Qway is a German-trained police dog. His purchase price was about $7,200.
“It’s my understanding that K-9s can cost anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000,” said Flowers. “So, Qway’s not outrageously priced, by any means.”
During his career with North Pekin’s finest, Timo worked with the Illinois State Police, the Peoria Police Department, the Pekin Police Department and the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department.
“We usually have between nine and 11 calls per month for him,” said Landrith. “We have to get to a call in about 15 minutes, and he can get to the call and handle it fast.”
In addition to frequently employing his drug detection skills for law enforcement agencies throughout central Illinois, Timo has been a valuable asset in locating missing persons.
“Even if Timo found just one person who was lost, his price would be worth it to us,” Flowers said. “He’s found two over the years: one child and one person with Alzheimer’s.
Qway reported for duty with the North Pekin Police Department last week but is not yet in service, according to Flowers. He has received rudimentary training and will work with a handler to learn tracking, drug detection and attack skills. Timo will remain on duty until Qway is prepared to relieve him.