K-9 Unit

Virginia Tech established its K-9 program in 2002, becoming the first university police department in the state to do so. The university’s first K-9 officer was a German Shepherd named Hokie, who was a patrol and narcotics canine. Hokie and his handler, Officer Keith Weaver, worked together until 2008 when Hokie retired.

The goal of the program is to ensure the safety of students, employees, and visitors. Currently, the department has three active service K-9 teams:

Police K9 Zuka
Portrait of Officer Jaret Reece

Birth Place: Czech Republic
Breed: German Shepherd
Trained: North American Police Work Dog Association and Virginia Police Work Dog Association

Police canine - nero
Portrait of Officer Austin Sumners

Birth Place: Slovakia Republic
Breed: Belgian Malinois
Trained: Virginia State Police Canine Academy

Police canine - Toro
Officer Robert Ogle

Birth Place: New Jersey
Breed: Labrador Retriever
Trained: Virginia State Police Canine Academy

In addition to performing routine patrol duties on campus, the dogs track suspects and missing people, search for drugs and other chemicals, and locate explosives. They are called upon to sweep Lane Stadium and other locations before home football games and other special events. 

VTPD K-9 Presentations

The teams give demonstrations at several Virginia Tech events every year and are an active part of the university’s community policing efforts.  To request a demonstration,  contact 540-231-6411.

Former K-9 officers

Hokie, a German Shepherd, was the department’s first K-9 officer. A narcotics detection dog, Hokie and his handler, Officer Keith Weaver became the university’s first K-9 team in 2002. The duo worked together until 2008 when Hokie retired and became Weaver’s family pet. Hokie completed his training with the Virginia State Police Canine Academy in April 2002. His duties include tracking suspects, missing people and searching for drugs. During this time at Virginia Tech, Hokie was presented with a custom-fitted Kevlar bulletproof vest to protect him from all the dangers he faces while performing his daily duties. The vest was donated by the First State Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association. 

Boris K-9

Boris, a two-year-old German Shepherd from Germany joined the police department as Weaver’s new canine partner in 2008. He graduated with North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA) and Virginia Police Work Dog Association (VPWDA) certifications in the summer of 2008. During his service, Weaver retired from the department and Officer Jaret Reece became Boris’ new handler.  Boris served the Virginia Tech community as a narcotics and apprehension police dog until he retired in 2014.  He is living out his retirement years with Reece as a family pet.

K9 Boomer presentation

In 2008, Boomer, a two-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever from Germany, joined the department as the university’s second K-9. After 13 weeks of intensive training through the Virginia State Police, Boomer was certified as the university’s (and the region’s) first explosives detection K-9. Boomer is trained to identify 25 odors, the compounds of which makeup thousands of different explosives. Boomer served as an explosives detection dog for eight years until he and his handler, Officer Larry Wooddell, retired together on April 1, 2016.

K-9 Bax

Bax, an eighteen month old German Shepherd from Germany joined the police department as Officer Reece's new canine partner in 2014. He graduated with North American Police Work Dog Association (NAPWDA) and Virginia Police Work Dog Association (VPWDA) certifications. Bax served the Virginia Tech community as a narcotics and apprehension police dog until he retired in 2018.  He lived out his retirement with Reece as a family pet and passed away in December 2018.

The Virginia Police Canine Memorial is a monument to Virginia’s law enforcement canines killed in the line of duty. Inscribed on the memorial are the names of police dogs that dedicated their life to protecting the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

The Virginia Police Canine Memorial was sculpted by Larry Bechtel and is located on Virginia Tech's Blacksburg campus. The memorial resides on the grounds of the Virginia Tech and University of Maryland's Veterinary School of Medicine. "Vet Med" takes care of VTPD's K9 partners and is a valued partner of the VTPD.

The statue that adorns the Virginia police K9 memorial is fashioned after VTPD's own beloved K9 Boris who served Virginia Tech well and faithfully.