Two veteran members of the UA Police Department retired Friday after years of service to the department.
Officer Steve Meyer served the department for 43 years, working as one of the department’s primary bicycle cops.
K9 Officer Dingo, a German Shepherd, served the force for six years, 42 in dog years, working with his handler, Cpl. David Nguyen.
UAPD Director Steve Gahagans thinks that Meyer stayed with the department so long because he cared deeply for the UA students he protected, he said.
Officers have to have “a deep-seated love for the UofA and the people you serve” to stay for 43 years, Gahagans said.
Meyer thinks that small positive interactions with students on a day-to-day basis helped keep him encouraged over the years, he said.
Mike Terry, who worked in the UAPD from 1981 to 1998, said that he was persuaded to join UAPD after talking to Meyer in a training course.
“You could tell he loved the UofA by the way he talked about it,” Terry said.
Dingo was trained in Austria to detect narcotics like methamphetamines, cocaine, marijuana and heroin by smell, Nguyen said.
Nguyen was selected as Dingo’s handler and only works with him, he said. When Dingo is not on the job, he lives with Nguyen and his family.
“When he’s at home, we treat him as a pet,” Nguyen said. “We don’t do any training at home.”
Nguyen thinks that Dingo is one of the friendliest dogs UAPD has, and he would often take Dingo around to meet with students, especially during finals, he said. Some students even recognize Dingo around campus.
“They know him as the lovable one, the one they can pet,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen thinks Dingo is still in great physical shape, but UAPD policy is for dogs to retire after seven or eight years of service, he said.
“He’s still young enough to enjoy retired life,” Nguyen said.
Now that he is retired, Dingo will probably just be a lazy house pet, Nguyen said.
UAPD still has four other dogs working for them, Nguyen said. Three of them are trained to detect explosives and one, Ricky, will take over Dingo’s job of narcotics detection.
Meyer will continue to support his former coworkers by delivering refreshments to officers on duty during game day, Gahagans said.