The Watertown Police Department is mourning the loss of retired drug K-9 Turk after he passed away unexpectedly in the evening of September 12th 2014. Turk passed peacefully in his home in the arms of his owner and last handler Officer Travis Gutzmer.
Turk was one of the first two drug canines acquired by the Watertown Police Department through community donations.
Turk began his patrol duties in 2007 and worked with a total of three handlers before retiring. He was cared for by several WPD employees while in transition phases. His previous handler of four years was Sergeant Troy Vandusen.
He quickly proved to be a valuable asset to our city. He played an integral part in the roadside interdiction of illegal drugs and its cash proceeds. He was often called upon by surrounding agencies to aid in their searches as well. Turk was an active part in the deterrence and enforcement of drug violations in area schools.
Turk was also the star of many public appearances where he showcased his talents. He made stops at area schools, daycares, and at our Citizen’s Academy and Teen Academy where he was always a fan favorite. He amused crowds with his unique “wookie” noises and one of a kind moon walk.
For the last two years of his career Turk was teamed with handler Officer Gutzmer. They continued working as a team until March of 2014 when Turk was retired.
It took some convincing, but Turk eventually settled in nicely to the retired life. He most enjoyed playing with kids and was truly a gentle giant. He was always finding a way to play. Whether he would sneak across the street to steal the softball from the neighborhood kids or coax the neighbor’s grandkids into the yard for some tug-o-war. He formed a close bond with the children of his family.
Our hearts are heavy with the loss of Turk. He was a loyal partner to his handlers, a dear friend, and a beloved family member. He touched the lives of many and he will be missed.
Turk will be buried at Joy Ranch next to WPD K9 Hondo, who passed away September 1st, 2010.