Loki Tony Duncan/Johnson City Press
The Jonesborough Police Department’s two-dog canine force is back at 100 percent.
K9 Officer Loki, a 2-year-old chocolate Labrador specially trained to sniff out narcotics and track down humans, began patrol duty with Public Safety Officer Jamie Aistrop in November. He replaced K9 officer Rio, who was retired from the force last spring due to arthritis.
While Loki is still “just getting his feet on the ground” in Jonesborough, Aistrop said the rookie K9 obviously loves his work.
“Our relationship is great and it gets greater every day,” he said.
Off the job, Aistrop said, “My family really loves him and he loves them.”
Like his senior counterpart on the force, K9 Officer Gregor, the Czech Shepherd assigned to PSO Mike McPeak, Loki’s duties include routine town patrol, requests for assistance from other local law enforcement agencies and special appearances at town events.
While Loki has yet to alert on a major narcotics stash, Aistrop said he has already sniffed out some small amounts and several items of drug paraphernalia.
His special areas of training do not include apprehensions of criminals, which Aistrop said makes Loki more valuable in search operations and less likely to bite in the event a child or an older person goes missing.
Cross certified by the North American Police Work Dog Association and the Police Professional Dog Association, Loki has been in training for his career in law enforcement most of his life.
He began working on odor recognition while he was still a pup. He then put in six months of individual training with Adam Witherspoon at Shilo K9 in Stoneville, N.C. Before coming to work in Jonesborough, he spent another month of dog and handler training with Aistrop at Shilo.
“Now it’s me and him every day,” Aistrop said.
To keep up his certification, Loki must log an additional 16 hours of training with Aistrop every month. The pair easily exceeds that requirement, working out routinely at Jonesborough area parks, Town Hall and other town facilities.
According to Aistrop, Loki’s favorite Jonesborough locale is without a doubt Persimmon Ridge Park.
“He definitely knows where he’s at when we pull in at Persimmon Ridge,” he said. “He loves working. He loves what he does.”