Kudos to departing K-9 cop in Grass Valley | TheUnion.com

Kudos to departing K-9 cop in Grass Valley

As it turned out, Rudiger was, in fact, a very good boy.

“It’s a kind of bittersweet evening recognizing all the great things he’s done for the city,” said Police Chief Alex Gammelgard in his farewell to the police K-9 dog. “He’s going to be leading the big life at home, not having to do all the things, all that work that Officer Jesse Cloyd made him do.”

Nevada City in August 2017 gave approval to implement a K-9 program, and the following year approved the funding component to outfit the department. Shortly afterward it acquired the first dog. Nevada City then reached out to allow the transfer of Rudiger to Grass Valley.

“It was a great opportunity because we were seeking to have additional coverage for seven days a week, and we took Rudiger with open arms and he was selected to be handled by Officer Cloyd,” Gammelgard said at Tuesday’s Grass Valley Council meeting.

However, Rudiger developed health issues, specifically degenerative spine damage that made it difficult for him to walk. After consultation with the veterinary office at UC Davis, authorities decided it was prudent for Rudiger to retire. The K-9 will be acquired by the Cloyd family, and live out the rest of his life in retirement.

The police department wants to maintain continuity with the K-9 program. The Rudiger Foundation has pledged its commitment to assist the police department in outfitting and training another K-9, with costs up to $30,000 — about the same as a normal police vehicle, Gammelguard said.


The Rudiger Foundation will help support K-9s in retirement, the chief said. It’s committed to help with medical care and other retirement needs for the rest of Rudiger’s life.

“So that’s a really great thing with the Cloyd family taking on this dog that’s given so much to our community, potentially having additional costs associated with it,” he said.

Lt. Sean Scales, with the Sheriff’s Office, said the K-9 department is a great tool for law enforcement. It can increase officer safety and it is a recruiting tool.

“I’ve sat on panels and asked candidates, ‘Why do you want to be a cop?’” Scales said. “And they would respond, ‘Because I want to work with the K-9 department.’”

Additionally, the K-9 department is a huge tool in building and contraband searches, as well as search and rescues. They’re also trained to follow a scent, and cadaver dogs help to uncover human remains, Scales said.

“We wish Rudiger a happy retirement,” he said.

Cloyd thanked Gammelgard and his command staff for the opportunity to not only be Rudiger’s handler, but his best friend as well.

“(The council) are not just friends, but business partners,” he said. “I’m grateful for all the love you showed us and for our dog, for the rest of his life. He has had many challenges, we can all agree on that. But his retirement is important and he gets to rest now. Thank you for your support and I look forward to what’s next in our K-9 program.”

County CEO Alison Lehman also praised Rudiger for his service.

“Rudiger forged a path for canine officers in Nevada County, as the first 100% community-supported K-9.“ she said. ”After six years of service to our community and being a dedicated role model to our younger K-9 officers, I wish Rudiger a long retirement, with lots of tug toys, food and family time.“

Grass Valley Council Member Hilary Hodge said it’s a great joy to know that Rudiger is going to have a family to care for him.

“He’s going to have a lovely retirement. And I’m sure every single person who has worked with him will miss him.”

William Roller is a staff writer with The Union. He can be reached at wroller@theunion.com

Rudiger served with local law enforcement. He formally retired on Tuesday.
Submitted to The Union

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