NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – In Hamilton County, a police department is getting ready to celebrate its longtime K9 officer, as the sheriff’s office is hoping its new furry deputy will have the same success.
Playing at the park is not an uncommon activity for Brad Purvis. Purvis and his sidekick, Macho, have done so for seven years.
It’s not for fun, they play for a purpose. Sgt. Purvis and Macho are a K9 unit with the Noblesville police department.
“He’s been with me more than anyone, anybody on the department, my wife, kid,” Purvis said.
During his career, Macho has made more than 300 arrests, and inspected more than 500 vehicles for drugs. “He’s taught me a lot. I’ve learned a lot from him throughout the years,” Purvis said.
He’s not only accomplished in the field. Macho’s owns a number of trophies. He’s won everything from top dope dog, to helping the entire Noblesville K-9 unit place high.
“This is him,” Purvis said. “We’re a team, but a lot of this is him, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
But all good runs must come to an end. After back, and ear surgeries, as well as a pulled groin, Macho is preparing for the next phase, retirement. “He’s not really too happy about it,” Purvis said. “He doesn’t understand it yet, but I’m thrilled that he’s able to retire kind of on top.”
Sgt. Purvis will keep Macho. But he’s not getting another K9 partner. He recently got promoted. Instead, he’ll oversee the unit. A group that’s already eyeing its next furry officer.
“That’s what’s nice,” Sgt. Purvis said. “He’s retiring, we’re bringing in a new one, and we’re moving on with the K-9 division.”
That’s something the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office is currently doing. Fonzie is the sheriff office’s newest member.
He was added after K9 Dibo suddenly died five months ago. His handler, Sgt. Dustin Dixon immediately worked with Fonzie. “I thought it would keep me busy and be able to pour energy into helping to train a new dog as opposed to just sitting around and pondering about Dibo,” Sgt. Dixon said.
The two have been busy. They spent 10 weeks at the K9 academy. He’s taking calls now, but Dixon is still training him. “It’s just a matter of teaching the dog his job over and over again to get the dog experienced to where he can focus a little bit more on the task at hand, not be overly excited,” Sgt. Dixon said.
Dixon knows Fonzie has big paws to fill. Dibo took 1,200 calls, and apprehended nearly 100 people during his eight years.
But he keeps nailing exercises, and Dixon said he’s off to a great start. “We wanted to make sure he went through the training and cut through the mustard,” Sgt. Dixon said. “So, I think he’s there now to where we can go ahead and get him a baseball card.”
A big step for an animal who’s ready to prove he’s the county’s next top dog. “He’ll locate drugs, people we want to locate, whether it be in a building, open environment like a field, basically a place someone would hide,” Sgt. Dixon said.
The same thing Macho has done throughout his career. While he appears at ease with retirement, it’s his handler who knows the loss his department and county will feel.
“We know at some point he’s going to retire, and some point I’m going to be working without him,” Sgt. Purvis said. “Today’s the day, and it’s still tough.”
Noblesville police are preparing to honor Macho. A retirement ceremony will take place before the end of the year. The department will honor him with a shadow box, filled with his badge, patches and his baseball card.