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Big paws to fill: Bozeman Police honor retiring K9 partner

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Posted at 7:56 PM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 10:53:28-04

There are big paws to fill at the Bozeman Police Department. Police K9 Roman just went into retirement. Recently MTN's Holly Brantley met Roman and his three handlers as they pay tribute to their partner against crime.

With paws on the ground and nose to the ground, Roman the German Shepard spent 5 years side by side with three handlers as Bozeman PD’s K9 crime fighter.

“He’s a phenomenal police dog,” said Detective Benjamin King. “He’s perfect for the job.”

He’s helped rid the streets of over $1 million of illegal drugs, helped track down criminals, and find lost people. At the Department, officers call him a comrade any cop could count on.

“We were partners,” said Detective King. “Partners have a special bond.”

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Roman and Detective Benjamin King

“It’s very rewarding,” added Officer Ian Anderson.

Anderson was the most recent to spend his days and nights with the dedicated dog. He explained injuries led to the decision to retire him early.

“His first issue was a torn bicep tendon, but the complications that ultimately led to retirement were with his back,” he said. “He went through a bunch of steroid treatments that were unsuccessful and had to have spine surgery.”

Officer Anderson says Roman was made for police work. He says finding another dog like him won’t be easy.

“For him, it is his personality,” said Anderson. “He is very friendly. He is fine around other dogs and children and people, but when it’s go-time, it’s go-time.”

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Roman and Officer Ian Anderson

Detective Quinn Ellingson also says it is Roman’s big personality that sets him apart—his personality, and his little quirks like the way he holds his paws or the way he spins in circles when he’s ready to go to work.

“It was one of those things with him, he loved the work. When he saw the car he’d start spinning in circles and take off and run around the car until the door opened,” Ellingson said. “He was happy to be there. We had a few good narcotics seizures, a couple tracks in the dark taking in suspects and that was rewarding.”

He says they worked hard and then Roman played hard.

“He was always good, full of energy,” said Ellingson.

And then, there’s Detective Benjamin King. They went through training together when Roman was just a pup. He was his first handler; he’ll also be his last.

“I was sad to hear that he was going to be forced into retirement with injury. Just the same, I was the first to stand in line, ready to box when I heard he had to go home with somebody.” Smiled Detective King.

Now with his crime-fighting days over, Detective King and Roman are working on a different kind of training: retirement.

“It does present some unique challenges, right now teaching him how to be a dog and how to be part of the family. He still gets up every morning and wants to go to work,” said King.

He says Roman enjoys hanging out with the family’s other two dogs, a lab and a miniature dachshund. King says while Roman would still like to be hot on a trail, he’s catching on to the easy life.

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Roman's new friends in retirement

Now the search is on for another police dog to keep the community safe.

We’ve had really good luck with our canines, but from my perspective, I don’t think you can replace Roman,” said Detective King.

We will let you know when another dog is chosen.

Big paws to fill: Bozeman Police honor retiring K9 partner