The ACSO's canine unit began in 1986 with one handler and K-9 assigned to patrol services. The enormous benefit in using canines in the apprehension of criminals and evidence detection was immediately evident. This resulted in the addition of a second K-9 unit in 1987. The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office now has six K-9 teams in service: 

  • Deputy Tyler Fechner and K-9 Atlas
  • Deputy Daniel Ruybal and K-9 Zero
  • Deputy Ty Zimmerman and K-9 Roman
  • Deputy Tadd Alexander and K-9 Nuke 
  • Deputy Brady Wood and K-9 Mako

K-9 Zero

Zero on back

K9 Roman

Ty and Roman

K-9 Nuke


K-9 Mako



Back the Blue K-9 Force, a nonprofit, has raised money to purchase several dogs for the sheriff's office and pay for their safety and medical needs. The nonprofit holds fundraising events throughout the year. It is also part of King Soopers Community Program. You can help by going to kingsoopers.com, clicking on Community Rewards and linking your King Soopers card. Just search for Back the Blue K-9 Force or use code XE774. It's free to do and King Soopers will donate money every time you shop.

K-9 Training

The K-9s are dual purpose dogs, meaning they are trained in two disciplines: apprehension and narcotics detection.

In 2019, the ACSO acquired K-9 Nuke, who is trained to detect explosives.  

  • Area Searches
  • Building Searches
  • Felony Car Stops
  • High-risk Warrant Arrests
  • Narcotics Detection
  • Obedience
  • Officer Protection
  • Public Demonstrations
  • Riot Control
  • Suspect Apprehension
  • Tracking
  • Trailing

K-9 Breeds

The sheriff's office uses German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois as K-9s because of their overall fitness for patrol work. The dogs have excellent noses, great strength, long endurance, good speed and are easily trainable. In other words, they are excellent all-around dogs for law enforcement purposes.


The Canine Teams are assigned as rove cars on patrol, which provides better response to in-progress calls within Arapahoe County and the city of Centennial. 

K-9s are assigned to one specific deputy, living with the deputy and his or her family. A K-9 team usually stays together four to six years until the K-9 retires. When the K-9 retires from service, the handler has the first option to keep the K-9 as their pet. 


Canine handlers must have the desire and ability to constantly train with their dogs. The K-9 teams have scheduled training each month, in addition to the numerous hours of on-duty training that occurs. Repetition is necessary and very important in the training of K-9s as all dogs are conditioned responders. Over the years, K-9s have proven their value and courage time and time again.

Past Handlers and their K-9 Partners

Handler K-9 Years
Vincent Cecilione Atlas 1986-1991
Mark Campbell Deacon 1987-1991
Bruce Hayward Rico 1988-1992
Todd Marner Darth 1989-1996
Jay Hawkins Arco 1991-1992
Mark Ortler Arco and Luke 1992-1996
Jim Wunderlich Ringo and Ringo Jr. 1996-2001
Gordon Carroll J.R. and Max 1996-2011
Mike Mitchell Ringo Jr. and Aragorn 2001-2009
James Cook Aragorn 2009-2010
James Cook Orry 2010-2014
Gordon Carrol Thor 2009-2017
Adam Lendi Orry 2014-2018