The Muscatine Police Department K-9 Officer Nero passed away peacefully and unexpectedly on Monday, Nov. 15, the department and City of Muscatine announced Tuesday.
“The Muscatine Police Department is mourning the loss of their K-9 Officer Nero,” Muscatine Police Chief Brett Talkington said in a Tuesday release. “Nero died unexpectedly on Monday and was nine-years-old. Nero served from October 15, 2014, to November 15, 2021, alongside his partner and handler, Sergeant Minnat Patel.”
Nero began uniform patrol with Sergeant Patel on Oct. 15, 2014, after both received their certification through American Working Dog, a nationally recognized training curriculum. Throughout his career, Nero was instrumental in tracking down suspects and illegal drugs, while being one of the main attractions at various public events, the department release said.
“Nero was a great dog and did some amazing things for the citizens of Muscatine and the Police Department,” Chief Talkington said. “He will be deeply missed by all.”
Nero, a male German Shepherd from Slovakia, was purchased by the MPD from Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, Ind., with a $15,000 grant from the Roy J. Carter Trust. Nero and Patel were selected to attend the six-week Dual-Purpose Narcotic Detector Dog Class, hosted by Vohne LIche Kennels, in September 2014. The training consisted of narcotic detection training (focused on marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine), along with track and apprehension (focused on building searches, open area searches, and tracking suspects).
Nero and Patel worked side-by-side on patrol and during monthly training sessions designed to ensure both the canine and the handler stay sharp with their skills. Nero proudly wore badge #252 throughout his career.