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July 7th, 1996
University of Arizona Police Department

Jos was one of the first two Police service canines obtained by the University of Arizona Police Department in March of 1991. The two canines were imported from Holland where they had received KNPV certification. Jos had worked briefly with Dutch Police and military units after his certification and was accustomed to flying in helicopters. For several years after joining UAPD, he would stop whatever he was doing and stare at any helicopter or small plane passing overhead. Both dogs completed handler/canine training in California and were placed into service at UAPD in the spring of 1991 as patrol dogs.

Within a few months, Jos was certified by the NNDDA (National Narcotics Detector Dog Association), for narcotic detection and recognized as being patrol/drug detection capable by the University of Arizona Risk Management Department.

Jos proved to be a very capable narcotic detector canine for UAPD as well as other local area city, state and federal Law Enforcement agencies. He frequently assisted US Postal Inspectors in checking suspicious packages and was routinely requested to respond to the Tucson International Airport to check incoming and outgoing baggage and packages by various agencies. Because Jos and his handler, Officer Mike Thomas, worked primarily days, he was frequently used for narcotic detection by area agencies when no other dogs were on duty.

Jos was accountable for detecting hundreds of pounds of narcotics and several hundred thousands of dollars in cash. Several automobiles and other properties were additionally seized under the RICO statues during his career.

Jos became a local celebrity at the annual University student run "Spring Fling" carnival held each spring on campus. The annual four-day event attracted crowds of 50,000 people over the four days. Although his attendance at this event was billed officially as narcotic detection and crowd control, he quickly won the hearts of people young and old as the public relations "King" of the department. Each year after four days of being talked to, made over, having his picture taken hundreds of times and being patted for hours on end, Jos would go home with "sore" fur from all the petting not to mention sticky fur from candy, sodas and the ever present cotton candy.

At the beginning of each semester, when new students arrived, the department went to fraternities, sororities and residence halls to present its dog and pony show - minus the pony. And yes, Jos became the focal point and the favorite of these also. He got loads of pats and hugs from students who had to leave their dogs at home and who unofficially adopted him. There was hardly ever a time when Jos was out patrolling the campus that some student, staff or faculty wouldn't call his name and rush to him for a pat or hug. The story around campus would always be the same as one person could be overheard telling another "That's Jos, our dog and what's his name, his handler".

On one memorable occasion, a DPS (Department of Public Safety) Officer who had stopped a semi on Interstate - 10, suspected drugs and called upon Jos to search the semi. Jos responded and found drugs all right, but despite several baths afterwards, smelled like a tomato for nearly two weeks following that search. The semi was loaded with freshly picked tomatoes.

During the latter half of his career Jos enjoyed working on Mt. Graham in the middle of the Coronado National Forest in southeast Arizona where the elevation is 10,500 feet, with cool summers and winters with lots of snow which dogs love. He spent his time working at the Mount Graham International Observatory where he provided detection and deterrence against the numerous opponents of the University of Arizona's telescope project. One could quickly tell by watching him that he truly enjoyed "making his presence known" during the many anti-scope demonstrations and civil disobedience attempts staged by groups such as Earth First. It was there the Jos refined his skills at "scenting" and detecting persons trying to hide in the woods. Many of those detected and arrested were surprised to learn that just because a dog can't see you doesn't mean he can't smell you.

Jos continued being part of the best of both worlds - the action of the city and the enjoyment of the mountain until his career came to a premature end when he was 8 1/2 years old.

At the request of another agency, Jos was performing a narcotic search in a home after Officers had done a preliminary search, made an arrest and confiscated drugs. During the search, Jos gave a strong alert to the cabinet under the kitchen sink. Being advised by other Officers that no drugs had been noticed, his handler opened the cabinet when Jos immediately started sniffing. Observing materials used for making meth, Officer Thomas quickly stopped Jos and removed him from the area. Unfortunately, as discovered shortly after, the damage had been done. Jos had inhaled caustic fumes that led to respiratory distress and complicating problems, which were beyond veterinary specialists abilities to correct.

Jos was euthanized on July 7th, 1996, resulting from his injuries.

Officer Mike Thomas continues his career with the University of Arizona Police Department as the Commander for the Mount Graham International Observatory.

Photo Page for Officer Mike Thomas and Officer K-9 Jos

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