K9 Mack of the Loveland Police Department will retire this autumn, and K9 Cruz will join the force in November.
Mack has served the Loveland community for the past seven years with his handler, Officer Kyle Bibelhausen.
Recently, the pair were presented with the Merit/Bravery Award at the 2021 Clermont County Law Enforcement Appreciation Banquet. Mack is a male German Shepherd that was born in the Czech Republic and raised in Holland.
“I will never be able to replace Mack. He has been a great partner,” said Bibelhausen. “I want him to continue to have an active life.”
Officer Bibelhausen & K9 Mack
On average, police K9s have a service life of eight years. In his retirement, Mack will live with Bibelhausen and his family on their property, keeping active with the family’s other four dogs and farm animals. Bibelhausen plans to keep Mack active in demos and community visits to maintain his certifications.
As for Cruz, Bibelhausen began searching for a new K9 partner in fall 2020. Due to the pandemic, dogs couldn’t be imported, so he began to look at local sources. Cruz is a 2-year-old Dutch Shepherd born in Kentucky and trained by Bulletproof Dog Training in Cincinnati.
“Cruz is the first locally sourced police dog that I am aware of. He is born, trained, and raised here,” explained Bibelhausen.
Being local has allowed Bibelhausen the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with Cruz through the selection process. To compare, when training Mack, he and Mack completed an 18-week handler course. Formal training with Cruz started in summer 2021.
In October, Cruz will practice being “on the job.” Bibelhausen will complete training him on scent work, tracking, aggression work, and obedience. Mack will fill in the gaps in the meantime until Cruz is officially “on duty” Nov. 1.
Cruz is the third K9 provided to the Loveland Police Department by The Matt Haverkamp Foundation, a non-profit that supports law enforcement agencies in Greater Cincinnati. In fact, Cruz is the 83rd K9 funded by the foundation!
“We are very fortunate. The Matt Haverkamp Foundation has been a big supporter of us, and we thank them for all that they do,” said Bibelhausen.
It takes approximately $2,500 to purchase a protective vest for a K9; $8,000 for an untrained K9; and $14,000 to purchase a trained K9 for law enforcement agencies.
About the Matt Haverkamp Foundation
The Matt Haverkamp Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 established in 2005 in remembrance of a beloved K9 police officer. The mission of the foundation is to continue Matt’s legacy and keep his memory alive by supporting law enforcement agencies in Greater Cincinnati. Matt was a police officer for the Golf Manor Police Department in 1999 where he founded the department’s bicycle patrol and K9 Unit. Matt and his K9 partner, “Tibo,” had a significant impact on the community’s safety. To learn more, please visit https://matthaverkamp.com/.