Jago has faithfully served the university for nine years, keeping fans safe at every home football game.
Friday, November 10, 2023

K9 Jago, who joined the University of Iowa Police Department in January 2014, will retire this week due to his age.

We thank K9 Jago and his handler Officer Jess Bernhard for the time, energy, dedication, and commitment they put into this special assignment.

K9 Jago – who turned 10 on Nov. 13 – is a dual purpose K9 specializing in explosive detection and patrol, which includes tracking, apprehension, handler protection, and evidence recovery. Bernhard is also a certified K9 trainer and leads in-house training activities for UIPD’s K9 Unit. With nine years of service, Jago is the department’s longest serving K9.

In his long and successful career, Jago has played an important role in countless criminal investigations by locating numerous firearms, spent shell casings, fleeing suspects, and missing or endangered people.

As a dual purpose K9, he also has played a key role in securing campus events and assisting law enforcement agencies across the state. This includes nine years of Hawkeye athletics seasons keeping fans, players, and our community safe before, during, and after games.

Some of Jago’s other notable assignments have included providing security services for:

  • Two sitting U.S. presidents
  • Three vice presidents
  • 17 Secret Service deployments for seven different presidential candidates
  • Four governors
  • Major League Baseball games at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa

Bernhard says those memories—and the love and support he’s received from the community regarding Jago’s retirement—have helped ease into the transition.

“Jago is selfless, and he gives 100 percent every single day. Everybody loves him and he has brought a smile to every single person he has met, even the people he has barked at,” says Bernhard. “Those interactions are the number one thing I’ve enjoyed about this role. I have gotten to see things and go places I never normally would as a police officer, meeting a lot of great people along the way. I am hearing lots of great stories from people about how much Jago has impacted their lives.”

Jago will officially retire on Saturday, Nov. 18 following the last home football game at Kinnick Stadium. He will spend his retirement at home with his handler and family. Bernhard says the transition will be tough for a dog who is always “on,” and that he hopes Jago will be able to relax, enjoy plenty of wet food, and play many games of tug of war.

The UI Police Department intends to maintain full staffing for its K9 program, with three K9s and their handlers, and expects to purchase another K9 in the future. In the meantime, K9 Hogan (and his handler Officer Nate Monter) and K9 Judge (and his handler Officer Jerrad Mohling) will continue to serve the university and community.

Learn More

For more information about the UI Police K9 program, see: https://police.uiowa.edu/patrol