SNELLVILLE — The city officially said goodbye to Snellville Police Department Officer K-9 Jax Monday, sending him into retirement with a proclamation thanking him for his years of service.
After being trained by handler Lt. David Matson with the help of Sgt. Will Collins, Jax joined the police department in October of 2014. The German Shepherd-Belgian Malinois mix became an integral part of the Snellville Police Department providing service and protection to the citizens of the City of Snellville and its visitors. Jax conducted more than 208 narcotics searches leading to more than 35 drug arrests, made eight criminal apprehensions, responded to 54 callouts by SPD and 21 callouts by neighboring agencies and conducted 67 public relations and demonstration events.
“Officers and citizens alike recognized the value of our K-9 program and especially, the expertise of Lt. Matson and the performance of K-9 Jax,” said Mayor Barbara Bender, reading from the proclamation. “The team distinguished themselves for the job done for our city and the recognition by other local, state and federal entities needing their valued assistance.”
A highlight of Jax’s career was when he responded to assist patrol officers with a traffic stop following a pursuit during which the driver ran. Officers knew the identity of the driver and discovered she had an outstanding warrant for felony probation violation, according to SPD officials. Matson deployed Jax to search for the suspect, but he immediately went to the vehicle and conducted a “free air sniff” giving an alert to the presence of a trained control substance. The team then identified
a track and pursued the suspect into the woods with Jax stopping and assuming a rigid posture looking at the ground. Matson saw strands of the suspects hair as well as her nose exposed even though she had covered herself with pine straw. He took the woman into custody without incident. The search of vehicle revealed methamphetamine, heroin, glass pipes and needles containing drug residue.
Jax completed his tour of duty and service on Oct. 1, earning his richly deserved retirement.
“This team has gone above and beyond the call of duty by providing assistance and
support on their own time,” the proclamation reads, adding the city wants to “recognize the loyalty, dedication, professionalism and service provided and exhibited by Lt. Matson and congratulate him and K-9 Jax, on his storied career in protecting the lives and property of the people of Snellville.”