On November 4, retiring K-9 Officer Luca was honored for his six years of service with the Battle Ground Police Department. Luca’s retirement comes as his handler, Sergeant Chris Crouch, announced that he would also be leaving the department and the law enforcement profession to pursue another career opportunity.
Together this K-9 Team logged 1,794 training hours, deployed 284 times, captured 87 suspects - only six by use of bite, participated in seven SWAT deployments, performed 63 vehicle sniffs for narcotics, and made countless friends through the 76 events, meet and greets, and demonstrations provided in and around our community.
When asked, Sergeant Crouch citied a case from 2014 as the highlight of Luca’s career. After receiving information from the U.S. Marshals that a homicide suspect was believed to be hiding out in a residence in La Center, Sergeant Crouch and Luca were dispatched to assist in the multi-jurisdictional response to apprehend the suspect.
It was quickly discovered that the suspect had fled on foot about two hours before Law Enforcement arrived. Facing, heavily wooded surroundings, pending nightfall, and a potentially armed and dangerous suspect, Sergeant Crouch, K-9 Officer Luca, and the rest of the search team set out after the suspect. After nearly three hours of searching the woods, Luca picked up the suspect’s scent and began actively tracking him. Shortly thereafter, through dogged determination K-9 Officer Luca flushed the suspect out of the trees and made physical contact with him before SWAT members safely took him into custody.
Not only did Luca overcome the odds of the time delay with this capture, he helped apprehend a violent suspect and provided an early warning of the suspect’s presence for the officers so all involved were able to carry out their mission safely.
It takes an exceptional dog to become a K-9 officer, and an exceptional officer to be a K-9 handler. For the past six years, the Battle Ground Police Department has had the fortune to have this this extraordinary K-9 Team serving the community.
Luca will embark on a new chapter of his life, retiring to the home of the Crouch family. In the near future, Luca, along with Sergeant Crouch’s former K-9 partner, Haulf, will be commemorated for their service in a Retired K-9 Officer display at the Battle Ground Police Station.
We wish Luca a long and happy retirement and the very best to Sergeant Crouch as he pursues a new career opportunity. They will be missed.