BY MELINDA WILLIAMS
Clipper Staff Writer
NORTH SALT LAKE — At the end of a work shift, most police officers go home to family and leave their partner until the next shift.
Most officers can also leave for work without their partner jumping the fence.
Not so for North Salt Lake Officer Jesse Whitear, whose partner is with him 24 hours a day.
It’s not a mustached man with a blue uniform with a gun, but a dog named Cairo.
Cairo is one of three K9 officers in south Davis County. West Bountiful and Centerville also have dogs. Cairo was named after the dog that was part of the raid which captured Osama bin Ladin.
Cairo, and Centerville’s dog Joker, have bulletproof vests. Vader, West Bountiful’s dog does not.
Bountiful City does not have a K9 officer, but borrows from other agencies when necessary.
“We appreciate that,” said. Chief Tom Ross. “We have a good relationship with the other departments,” he said.
Joker, Centerville’s dog, just graduated from the academy last month, according to Assistant Centerville Police Chief Paul Child. His handler is Officer Jason Reed.
Vader has been a member of the West Bountiful Police Department for just over a year, said Sgt. Corie Hamilton. His handler is Officer Corey Boyle.
Hamilton said there have been a couple of times when officers were pursuing armed suspects when Vader would have been safer had he been wearing a vest.
Like other K9 officers, Cairo is a part of Whitear’s family. Whitear cares for him and ensures his safety, just as Cairo ensures the safety of Whitear while the two are on duty.
Cairo’s been a part of the North Salt Lake Police Department only since February, but is already a trusted officer on the force
“Our relationship is very professional, Whitear said. “Cairo works, he gets paid.”
That pay is the chance to play with his toys. “That keeps him working,” Whitear said.
When off duty, Cairo spends much of his time in a kennel. Twice a day he is let out to run and play, “and do dog things,” Whitear said.
During the afternoon, Whitear’s kids are allowed to join in the fun, but the dog is not left alone with the kids. “I want him to know these are people he’s to listen to and obey.”
Cairo so associates Whitear with work, that if Whitear leaves in his police vehicle without the dog, Cairo will jump the fence.
“He thinks ‘this is my vehicle and I have to go to work,’” Whitear said.
On the job, Whitear said he relies on Cairo even more than he would a human partner.
“His senses are so much better,” Whitear said. “When we’re in an industrial area, I’m watching my dog because he can hear and smell a person much farther out than I can.’
The pair’s relationship is such that they feed off each other’s senses. If Whitear is stressed or doesn’t feel well, the dog knows that and responds.
“If I’m happy, he feels that too,” Whitear said.