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Aurora PD officer still adjusting to work without his K-9 partner

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AURORA, Colo. -- An officer with the Aurora Police Department is adjusting to life at work without his K-9 partner.

Officer Matt Green lost Draco on June 1.

“You know they would do anything you ask them to do to protect you. Just knowing that brings in that extra little bit of emotional attachment,” said Green.

On Saturday, Green and his coworker, Officer R. Wong, introduced us to one of the members of their K-9 unit.

Loki is one of the young guns. He is about three months shy of turning 2.

The K-9 unit goes through about four months of training, learning a wide range of commands. But it’s their sense of smell that really stands out on the job.

“They’re trained in both apprehension — which means they will search and find bad people hiding or running from us. And then they’re either trained in explosives detection or narcotics detection. Being that dogs’ noses are however many times greater than ours, obviously, that’s a huge benefit to the officers on scene,” Green explained.

APD has at least one of its K-9 officers working a 10-hour shift, every day of the week.

“Their nose is a big deal, and that comes into play with the odors too. Draco was actually an explosives detection dog. He was able to find and seek out bomb-making materials, which is a big deal these days,” Green said.

Green said losing Draco was painful.

“It hit me a lot harder than I expected,” he told FOX31.

Draco would have turned 5 later this month.

“We were just getting started,” Green said.

The Belgian Malinois was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery, but his medical condition was untreatable.

Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz tweeted out a picture on June 1, capturing the final goodbye between Green and Draco.

“I didn’t sit there and say, ‘Hey, take some pictures.’  But I’m glad they did because for me, that’s what I’ll remember,” Green said. “That was one of the few times that I felt I should be that close to him and let him understand, ‘hey, I’m here.'"

Draco’s official end of watch was June 1, 2019.

APD hasn’t said when they’ll bring in a new dog to start training, but Green says, he’ll have a lot to live up to.

“They’re not afraid to go ahead of you and do their job. That would be like another officer saying, ‘you know what?  I’ll go in first.' I’m forever grateful for everything he did at work as well as at home. That’s really hard to detach from," Green said.

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