The arsenal of resources available to law enforcement officers at the Cache County Sheriff’s Office just increased by one four-legged officer with a nose for narcotics and strong desire to work.

Endy, a 7-year-old Belgian Malinois, has been a K-9 officer for Logan Police Department most of his life, but several months ago, circumstances came up that left him in need of a new handler.

Logan police officer and K-9 handler Eric Johnson was involved in a serious motorcycle accident in September 2015. Police Chief Gary Jensen said Johnson is well on his way to recovery, but police dogs are bred and trained to work.

“We were worried about Endy,” Jensen said. “He is a very successful and well-trained animal, and he needs constant training and work to keep his skills sharp. It was in his best interest to seek a new handler rather than kenneling him for a prolonged period of time.”

Lt. Mike Peterson said police dogs are a costly asset, and the sheriff’s office has never had the resources to acquire its own dog, so in the past, deputies coordinated with Logan officers when they needed K-9 skills on the job.

When they got the chance to acquire Endy, they couldn’t pass up the opportunity, Peterson said.

Now, with Endy on the roster at the sheriff’s office, Logan police and county deputies are able to pool their resources and work together so there is a police dog on duty during the key points of every day, Peterson said.

After considering several options, Endy was paired with Deputy Jason Whittier, a man who grew up with animals and has a deep love for them.

He considered a position in animal control, but when this opportunity arose, he didn’t hesitate.

“I tore right into getting a letter of interest ready,” Whittier said.

It wasn’t enough to love the animals, though — Peterson said they considered everything from Whittier’s ability to care for a dog and the yard space available, to the ownership of his home and the support of his family.

“Jason stood out in all of those areas,” Peterson said.

Not only that, but he also has similar personality traits to Endy’s prior handler.

“Dogs feel and have emotions, too, and we wanted to make sure he was OK with the transition,” he said.

Whittier spent almost a month with Endy just getting to know one another and build their new relationship before they went to Indiana for training.

“It was his third trip to the kennels and everyone wanted to love on him and see how he was,” Whittier said. “It was me that needed training; he was a pro at it and just drug me along with him.”

It was during this time that the pair truly transitioned from being merely a master and a dog to being buddies, he said.

Endy, who is trained in narcotics and tracking, and Whittier just started officially working together this week.

While Whittier is Endy’s handler now, Peterson said the reality is, he is an added resource to the entire department, and the entire organization is excited to have him on duty.

“Having the versatility of a K-9 is an exciting move for our organization and the communities we serve,” Sheriff Chad Jensen said. “Police K-9s provide enhanced levels of detection and interdiction abilities along with additional safety for our citizens and deputies.”

Although his primary duties will be in patrol, Endy will be used in other facets of the Cache County Sheriff’s Office. He will be utilized in the jail on a regular basis, periodically in schools where officers provide law enforcement services and during special events, Peterson said.

And, in the spirit of cooperation and giving back, Endy’s availability will not be limited to the sheriff’s office — he will also be made available to Logan police and other departments in the valley as needed.

Peterson said the public will have opportunities to be introduced to Endy over the next several months at community events throughout the summer where people will have opportunities to see him and watch demonstrations showcasing his abilities.

“We want the public to be engaged and aware of Endy’s presence in the communities of Cache County,” he said.

Twitter: amacavinta

Amy Macavinta is the crime reporter for The Herald Journal. She can be reached at amacavinta@hjnews.com or 435-792-7245.

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