Denison's officer Ivar retires after 7 years

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Denison Police Sgt. William Deering poses for a photo next to Officer Ivar in this file photo from 2014. The city council approved an agreement transferring ownership of Ivar to Deering, effectively retiring the police dog after seven years.

A long-term officer of the Denison Police Department is set to retire after nearly 50 years of service — in dog years, that is. Officer Ivar, the department's Belgian Malinois K-9 unit was approved for transfer to his handler, Sgt. William Deering by the Denison City Council recently.

In doing so, the city will effectively be  bringing Ivar's career to a close after just over seven years.

"Due to Ivar's age, the city has determined that it is in Ivar's and the city's best interest to retire Ivar from the department," Police Chief Mike Gudgel said Monday.

Ivar first came to Denison in late 2013 following community efforts to raise funds to acquire a police dog for the police department. At the time, it had been 11 years since the department had a K-9 unit in service.

Ivar was assigned as Deering's partner, and the pair served together for many years. during that time, Ivar worked in several roles, including drug detection and patrol. About one year ago, Deering was promoted to sergeant, putting him in a role more aimed at supervising human officers rather than the four-legged variety. This made it the perfect time to make this transition, Gudgel said.

"As you may know, Sgt. Deering spends more time with Ivar than he does his own family, so this is only the right thing to do and we are allowed to do it through the government code," Gudgel joked.

Mayor Janet Gott thanked Sgt. Deering during the city council meeting for his long service with Ivar and his decision to accept his former partner into his home a part of the family.

"We are thankful for all the time you spend training Ivar," Gott said. "We do know that he is a passion and not just a dog, so we are all very grateful for what you have done to have this asset in our community."

With Ivar in retirement, City Manager Bobby Atteberry said the city is working on acquiring a new K-9 unit, but gave few details about the progress. Like Ivar, the new K-9 unit will likely be purchased through publicly raised funds. However, he said some budgetary funds will likely be used as well.

"There are plans for a replacement, but it takes a while to get one, get them trained, and get them through all the things they need to get through, so it may be six months before we can get the replacement animal in," Atteberry said.