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Fargo Police Dog Nitro Retires - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Fargo Police Dog Nitro Retires

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A bittersweet day for Fargo Police as they bid farewell to a valued member of the team.

After ten years serving Fargo streets with a nose for justice and bark as mean as his bite, Nitro, the German Shepherd, is stepping down from the K-9 unit.

A handful of officers gathered Saturday night as Nitro started his last shift. They made it clear: Nitro is not some house dog.

He's had a career of creating a safer, cleaner city. In fact, he's had a longer career than most police dogs.

"All different kinds of dope finds... people hear us coming in the building searches and they give up," Rick Nechiporenko, Nitro's handler and patrolman, said. "If they're smart burglars, they're going to give up."

A reputation precedes him. Justice is left behind in his paw prints.

"He's found countless criminal suspects and narcotics detection incidents in the hundreds, if not thousands, of people that Nitro has had an impact with," George Vinson, sergeant, said.

Fargo Police sniff out more criminals using four legs than two.

"He has quite a bit of respect throughout the department," Vinson said.

And at 12 years old, weighing in at 73 pounds, the German shepherd from Czechoslovakia is one of the force's most valuable players.

Nitro has spent the last ten years with handler Rick Nechiporenko. Or, as he puts it, "more time than with the family, I think."

Together, they've bagged bad guys and inspired young kids. But, a decade of service hasn't slowed the old boy down.

"He still come to work going a hundred miles an hour. And when I brought him out of the car to come here, it makes me feel a little sad cause this is his last night," Nechiporenko said.

We're not strangers to a dog's unconditional love, but rarely does it come in the form of a vow "to protect and serve."

"Nitro's commitment, loyalty to the job is second to none. We'll have a tough time replacing Nitro, and we'll do the best we can," Vinson said.

Nitro finished his shift early Sunday morning.

He's retiring to Nechiporenko's home, joining three other retired police dogs.

But, Nechiporenko says it's not going to be an easy adjustment because Nitro has so much energy.

Nitro's position was filled earlier this year. So, now, the K-9 unit will be down to three much younger dogs.

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