Herriman K-9 earns top dog honors at national competition
Mar 22, 2022, 6:26 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 5:23 pm
HERRIMAN, Utah — If you ever want to hear a police officer act like a kid again, set him or her up with a dog.
“That’s a good boy!” said Sgt. Ben Ricks in the kind of voice every dog owner knows. “You want to go play?”
Ricks is with the Herriman Police Department and loves working with his four-legged friend K-9 Daavo.
“I talk to him all the time while we’re working in the middle of the night. He never talks back. That’s the best part about it,” Ricks said with a laugh.
For as much as Sgt. Ricks thinks Daavo, a 4.5-year-old Belgian Malinois, is one of the best police dogs out there, this past weekend proved it.
Daavo earned two first-place awards for tactical obedience and narcotics detection, and two second-place awards, during the annual K-9 trials competition in Las Vegas.
The event is well known in police circles as the best K-9 competition in the West.
It was also the first time Daavo competed, and Ricks couldn’t be happier.
Daavo, a @HerrimanPolice K9, won some pretty big awards during a police dog competition in Las Vegas this past weekend. It was a great moment for his handler, Sgt. Ben Ricks, especially after what happened to his last police dog Hondo. Our story runs @KSL5TV at 6 #ksltv #herriman pic.twitter.com/ADNZR9UWuy
— Alex Cabrero (@KSL_AlexCabrero) March 22, 2022
“He did well. He did fantastic. I’m super proud of him,” Ricks said. “When you get in front of a crowd of people like that, sometimes they get distracted and they’re looking all around, but he did well.”
Ricks did well too, emotionally.
Because there was no doubt his last dog, Hondo, was on his mind.
“I think about him every day,” Ricks said.
Hondo, who was also a Herriman police K-9, was shot and killed in the line of duty two years ago while going after a man who was wanted by the U.S. Marshals.
His funeral was something many in the community came out for.
“They back us 100% and we certainly appreciate it,” said Ricks. “We have a great community here in Herriman and they showed it.”
Ricks wasn’t sure he could move on with a new dog, but when he met Daavo, it was an instant connection.
“They all have their own personalities. I think Hondo was a little bit more mellow at home,” Ricks said. “Daavo, he likes to run loops around the dining room table with his toy in his mouth until you tell him to stop. That could be a half-hour to an hour. He just keeps going.”
The smile on Ricks’ face said it all.
Daavo has helped him to heal from the loss of Hondo.
“They both had energy when they came to work. I’ll tell you that,” he said.
A new dog park is set to open next month in Herriman. It’s named K-9 Memorial Park where Hondo will be honored as well as K-9 Dingo, who was also killed in the line of duty while working for the Unified Police Department in the Herriman area before Herriman formed its own department.
“I can’t wait for the park to open,” said Ricks.
It’s where people can learn about Hondo’s story and also where Daavo will continue to learn how to be one of the best good boys out there.
“He was tired the last night of the competition and went straight to sleep on my hotel room bed, so he didn’t get a good treat and we drove home yesterday,” said Ricks. “He’ll get a reward tonight for sure.”