K-9 Vader is pictured with his handler.

K-9 officer Vader has retired from the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.

Vader is a German shepherd that was imported from Slovakia and assigned to Deputy Josh Tester in 2013 to serve as his partner. Vader was trained in both criminal apprehension and narcotic detection and has been a valued member of the Sheriff’s Office staff.

Vader is 9 years old and has worked with the Wright County Sheriff’s Office for the last eight years. He doesn’t have any health issues, but when a dog reaches his age, regardless of health, they tend to cycle out of service and retire – almost always living with the family of the deputy it is partnered with.

Tester has been at Vader’s side for the last eight years and, while K-9 officers have a tendency to get the depiction of being aggressive, he is loved by Tester’s children, who see him as a family pet and companion.

“He gets along great with my kids,” Tester said. “He is two very different dogs. There’s a work mode to him – they’re driven to work hard and do their job. But, there is an off switch on them. When he’s at home, he is a great family dog.”

Since Tester and Vader were partnered, Tester said there is nobody that has been at his side as much as Vader.

“When you add up the hours that we have spent together – at home and on the job – I’ve spent more time with him over the last eight years than I’ve spent with my family,” Tester said. “He’s my sidekick all day long.”

The county currently has two K-9 officers – the other being Chase, a 4-year old Malinois/shepherd mix. Vader will be replaced by 1-year old Grizz, who is also a Malinois/shepherd cross.

“Law enforcement officers are dedicated to what we do and we take a lot of pride in that,” Tester said. “Vader has served the people of Wright County well and, while it may not seem like it to some, he has been an important part of the Sheriff’s Office for the last eight years and he will be missed.”

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