LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 24, 2017) – University of Kentucky Police held a special retirement party Friday for Pink, a black Labrador who served the UK Police Department for four years as an explosives detection canine. She was honored with pink and black balloons, a bone-shaped cake, and a final 10-7 over the police radio giving tribute to her service. A commemorative plaque and K-9 badge were also presented to her handler, Sergeant Michael Pope.
“Pink has been an integral member of the UKPD family, and we wanted to celebrate her retirement just like we would any other officer retirement,” said UKPD Chief Joe Monroe.
Prior to working at the University of Kentucky Police Department, Pink searched for improvised explosive devises in Afghanistan with the United States Marine Corps for five years. Because she was accustomed to working in a desert environment and living in a crate, Pope and other K-9 trainers had to acclimate Pink to her university environment continuously for 14 weeks. Once she was certified through the United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) and the North American Police Work Dog Association in explosives detection, they went to work.
Pope and Pink have worked alongside each other responding to calls for assistance from UKPD and surrounding law enforcement agencies as well as at numerous special events including the NASCAR race in Bristol, Tennessee. She worked with Pope on protection details when former President Bill Clinton visited UK and when former First Lady Michelle Obama visited at Eastern Kentucky University.
The UK Police Department has acquired a German Shepherd from Holland named Ira to replace Pink. Ira will be certified in explosives detection and tracking from USPCA this year.
Both dogs live with Pope, who says despite Pink’s initial jealousy, Ira and Pink have a developed a relationship of tolerance.
“It was an adjustment period for all three of us in the beginning, but I think Pink is happy relaxing on the couch while Ira goes to work with me,” Pope said.