The Bedford Police Department recently underwent a transition period within it's K-9 program. With the recent retirement of K-9 North, Officer Mike Johnson has passed on the responsibilities of being a canine officer after completing twenty years of service. Mike began his canine career in September 1994 when he began the department's first canine program and the training of its first canine, Kai. Four additional canines were later trained and handled by Mike who included Saber, Barry, Ingus, and North. The department added a second team for street service in November 2011, with the addition of Captain Jeremy Bridges and K-9 Ciro who are currently in active service. Since K-9 North's retirement, a new K-9 team has been added to the department. Officer Jesse Crane and K-9 Maximus (Max) is our newest K-9 team, and they are currently undergoing training to become certified.
During his canine career, Mike has been actively involved in the training of police service dogs on both the local and national level. In the past years, he has been affiliated and involved with several police canine associations that included Dogs Against Drugs Dogs Against Crime (D.A.D.D.A.C.), North American Police Work Dog Association Dog Association (N.A.P.W.D.A.), Indiana Police Work Dog Association and the International Police Work Dog Association (I.P.W.D.A.). In June 1998 Mike received his canine trainers accreditation after four years of apprenticeship and training police canines with trainers around the nation. In September 2001 He Received his Master Trainers Accreditation which he currently holds at present.
In December 2006, he founded the American Police Canine Association (A.P.C.A.) which has expanded nationally and internationally as one of five recognized national canine associations in the United States. He has served as the association's elected National President eight consecutive years and has been highly involved in working with state legislators and agencies from across the United States in providing national certification standards for K-9 teams operating in their respective jurisdictions. Mike has trained and certified thousands of police service dogs throughout the nation. He presently holds a Police K-9 Master Trainer's Accreditation in the disciplines of Narcotics Detection, Accelerant Detection, Cadaver Detection, and Patrol Dog K-9 Teams.
The City of Bedford has gained national attention and a high caliber reputation of being one of the nation's elite in training of police dogs and it's national conferences. The City of Bedford has hosted seven national K-9 Conferences, which no other city in America has duplicated since. The Bedford Police Department will continue to utilize Officer Johnson as the department's K-9 Trainer and Program Coordinator. A new K-9 team will be selected to fill Officer Johnson & K-9 North's completed assignment role in the upcoming months.
K-9 North's Retirement
K-9 North retired on July 20,2014 after serving 8 1/2 years as a dual purpose patrol / narcotics detection dog. North, a black Czechoslovakian Shepherd and who is now ten years old, was forced into retirement due to recent health problems that affected his mobility. K-9 North, affectionately known by his fellow officers as "South" began active duty with his handler, Officer Mike Johnson on February 5, 2006. North's career included over 1,000 drug arrests in which he was utilized for traffic, residential and school drug searches. North also made several felony tracking apprehensions of fleeing suspects sought by the department. He played a valuable role to the police department in the area of public relations by performing hundreds of K-9 public demonstrations for numerous school and civic groups. North will spend the remainder of his life with his partner Mike Johnson and his family. North's Retirement is well deserved and we wish him a happy one. Best wishes and good luck K-9 North. You will be greatly missed!