Detective Ice, a Michigan police K-9, went viral last month after he was accused of stealing a human officer’s lunch.
The Wyandotte Police Department in Wyandotte, Michigan, shared the alleged thief’s mugshot on Facebook, where it quickly went viral, garnering thousands of likes, comments, and shares.
As a result of the post, Facebook users came to the K-9’s defense, with some even offering to “defend” Ice during his investigation.
But who is everyone’s favorite furry officer, and what has his life and career been like?
In June 2012, then-10-month-old Ice joined the Wyandotte police force under the supervision of Detective Sergeant Ken Groat.
Groat told Fox News Digital that when police K-9s join the force, they have little to no training.
“They train the handler and the dog simultaneously, so they teach us how to train our dogs,” he explained.
Groat has advanced from detective to detective sergeant in the last ten years.
While it is common for K-9s to retire and remain at home when their handler is promoted, Ice was always promoted alongside Groat — and the two were able to continue in their trainings, according to Groat.
Ice is now semi-retired at the age of ten, so he does not travel as frequently as he once did.
“Although Ice is getting a little gray in the beard and not on everyday patrol, he’s still very much a part of our department,” Chief Brian Zalewski told Fox News Digital on Jan. 25, as Ice’s mugshot was gaining national news attention.
“Ice is extremely well-trained and still maintains his K-9 certifications. Ice has assisted dozens of law enforcement agencies over his decade of service,” Zalewski added.
“He was one of the most requested Police K-9’s for drug search warrants, vehicle searches and suspect tracking.”
Groat was reassigned to the investigation unit due to his promotion — but Ice can always be found in the office welcoming people as they enter.
“I think it’s added to his life that he’s been able to come to work with me [and] keep him active,” Groat commented.
Adventures worth talking about
While he may not be making as many arrests as he used to, Detective Ice has had some interesting adventures.
Groat shared that during an investigation with another jurisdiction, the K-9 discovered $120,000 in a laundry hamper hidden by an apparent suspect.
“I thought [Ice] was commenting on the drug odor on the guy’s clothes… He actually reached up, drew the laundry basket down, and began digging through the clothes. “And then $10,000 [in] bricks of money begin to fly out with it,” Groat recalled.
One of Groat’s favorite Ice stories involves the K-9’s ability to bridge gaps between people and law enforcement while also assisting in stress reduction.
“Everybody loves a dog, [but] not everybody loves the police,” Groat said.
He added that dogs can “mend fences between people and the police.”
Ice is still an obedient police dog in spite of his recent “crime” — but when he goes home after a long day’s work, “he is just like any other house pet,” he added.
Ice is ready for duty when necessary, but quickly jumps back into being “a normal dog until the next job comes up,” Groat said.
He was raised around Groat’s wife and kids; the children have since grown up.
Ice is very relaxed and laid back at home, according to Groat — the dog appears to enjoy cuddling up with a blanket on the couch.
Back in the day, however, “the minute you opened the door to get him out [of the car], he was very hyper-energetic [and] ready to do work,” according to Groat.
Although he may not be as energetic as he once was, Ice appears to continue to bring others joy.
“He’s the best partner I ever had,” said Groat.