It has been 10 years since Ryan Biedermann lost his K9 partner Niko on the job.
And not a day goes by that he doesn’t think about the seven years that he spent with the Dutch shepherd by his side – a good chunk of that time spent in Lathrop on patrol.
So today, when K9 officers and units from around Northern California gather at Lathrop High School to put their dogs through the paces, Biedermann will smiling a little bit wider knowing that his old partner is the one being honored at the first annual San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office Niko Memorial K9 Trial.
“It’s different than having a human partner – you go home with your dog at the end of the day and it becomes a family pet,” said Biedermann, now the Acting Police Chief of Lathrop Police Services. “That was more my daughter’s dog that it was my dog, to be honest – she knew the Dutch commands and when she gave them, he listened to her.
“Being able to have this in Lathrop where I worked for so many years with him means a lot to me.”
The event, which begins today inside of the stadium at Lathrop High School at 8 a.m., will be open to the public at 10:30 a.m. and will feature K9 partners and their handlers working through a variety of scenarios and obstacles – from agility drills and search tactics to the crowd-favorite apprehension drills.
All types of K9 skills will be showcased – from drug detection and searches to obstacle and agility courses – and each dog that is performing a given task will be given the chance to shine as they will have the course as it is configured to themselves until they finish.
Official judges from the Western States K9 Association will be on hand to judge the competition.
Scheduled to appear are K9 units from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office, Sonoma County Sherriff’s Office, Placer County Sheriff’s Office, Merced County Sheriff’s Office, Citrus Heights Police Department, Hayward Police Department, Yuba City Police Department, and the Stockton Unified School District Police Department.
Presented with a $1,000 donation from River Islands and catered by Fagundes Meats and Catering Company of Manteca, the event will run until roughly 4 p.m., and include vendors from various agencies offering memorabilia and K9 mementos.
“It’s something that every dog lover will enjoy, or families looking for something fun to do,” Biedermann said. “Lathrop has been very supportive of me over the years, and being that I worked this community with him for so long it’s fitting that we’re holding this here and I hope a lot of people come out and support this and get the chance to learn what it’s all about.”
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.