K-9 Vetti of the Longmont Police Department is set to retire this month after nearly six years on the force.
Vetti is a Belgian Malinois who was purchased by the department in March, 2015. She was handpicked by Sgt. Tim Madigan of the Longmont Police Department and Sgt. Brian Hemplemann of the Westminster Police Department because of the skill set she demonstrated, Madigan said.
“Vetti was a phenomenal patrol and SWAT dog! I don’t think I have ever seen a dog that was more social and sweet, but could also “turn it on” and bring immense bite pressure and fight. In this respect, Vetti was one of a kind!! The SWAT team will certainly miss this type of skill set for a time. Vetti did a great job in detection and tracking as well,” Madigan said via email.
While most K-9 dogs are male, Vetti was the first female on the force. Soon her replacement, Delta, also female, will join the force.
Vetti’s job as a police dog is to locate narcotics, track suspects and patrol work, according to Madigan. These dogs also “go into harm’s way,” so police do not have to, Madigan said in an email.
During her time on the force, Vetti caused 30 suspects to surrender peacefully and found nearly 100 narcotics. She was deployed on the street over 500 times during her six-year tenure.
In an email, Madigan celebrated Vetti’s career by regaling other officers with a few cases where Vetti made a big difference to the outcome of the situation.
In 2017, Vetti was called onto a scene at the east Walmart location where a man who had two warrants attempted to elude police. The man was warned he would be bit by the dog if he did not surrender but chose to continue to run. Vetti ran after the man and bit him, allowing officers to apprehend him. When searched, a loaded 40 caliber handgun was found in the waistband of the man’s pants.
Vetti was sent to search for a man accused of choking his girlfriend to the point of unconsciousness. The man was hiding in a patch of woods. She was first able to find the man’s cell phone and then caught the man’s scent. She tracked the scent to find the man hiding at the base of the tree where police arrested him.
K-9 Vetti was able to assist in the arrest of three men suspected of stealing a car in Nov. 2019. The first suspect resisted arrest until Vetti was deployed, which caused him to surrender. The second suspect complied with officers’ commands to prevent being bit by the dog but ran after he laid on his belly. Vetti bit the man to keep him from running further. The third suspect attempted to escape via the stolen vehicle and was apprehended after the car became stuck in the snow.
Vetti has been an asset to the Longmont K-9 unit and will be missed by all. She will retire with her partner Officer Brian Macchione, who will purchase her from the city of Longmont for $1. She will spend the rest of her days with the family she has grown to love, Madigan said.
In a few months, Madigan expects to increase the number of police dogs from two to three to better serve a city the size of Longmont.
“As big of a city as we are and as busy as we are, we need to be at three to four dogs,” Madigan said.
To help train these dogs, the Longmont K-9 unit is looking for training venues such as home, businesses, buildings unused at night or a rental car facility.
During her career, Vetti made over 40 appearances in local schools and out in the community. The Longmont K-9 unit enjoys sharing these dogs with the residents of Longmont and networking with the community, Madigan said.Although Vetti is retiring to a good home, she is in need of expensive care due to some health issues. Anyone interested in contributing to Vetti’s, or other K-9 dogs, can do so through the Longmont Police K9 Association — a nonprofit committed to providing safety equipment, training and services to Longmont’s police dogs. Ten percent of all donations go toward retired dogs, such as Vetti.