Two K9 officers from West Valley City take top spots in national competition

Posted at 10:05 PM, Oct 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-24 00:05:46-04

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah -- Two police officers from West Valley City and their K9 partners are coming off cloud nine after taking top spots in a national competition.

Officers Lobo and Halo recently traveled to Nevada with their trainers for the Las Vegas K9 Trials.

“He’s known around the valley as kind of a really, really high-drive, really, really intense dog,” Officer Todd Zahlman said. “But he’s got a really good off switch.”

The K9s just took first and second place, marking the first time West Valley City PD has ever taken home the top agency spot.

“We both work really hard, he loves the job, and we were able to go out for one last time and what an ending; to get top agency and place highly in all the individual categories is very exciting,” K9 Officer Jacob Palmer said.

Palmer has been working with Halo for five years now. The 8-year-old dog is set to retire this year and will move in with Officer Palmer's family.

“He’s really good with my kids, my wife, we even have a cat and dog, a small Pomeranian and a little cat that he gets along with just fine,” Palmer said.

But it wasn't always easy for this second-place champion. With thousands of eyes on the dogs, the competition takes countless hours of training.

“They’re just like us, they get nervous though, and sometimes they’ll break or not quite hear our command because they’re distracted by what’s going on around them,” Palmer said.

Lobo has also been working as an officer for about five years now, and the dog came in first place overall.

His handler says the training will come in handy when they're tackling crime in real life.

“There’s been several times on the street where I’ve actually had to use him to help me in certain situations, with taking people into custody and things like that,” Zahlmann said.

The handlers say they and the dogs make a great team.

“I know that he’s got my back, he’s always there for me, he’s always ready to go, as you can tell,” Zahlmann said.