Starke County K9 Fritz To Be Retired

Officer James Upsall and K9 Fritz demonstrate a hold on Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen.

The Starke County Sheriff’s Department K9 is retiring. K9 officer and handler, James Upsall, said the two-year certification is coming up at the end of the month and the decision was made not to renew that certification and Fritz will be retired.

Upsall said Fritz had several narcotics busts during his three-year tenure at the Sheriff’s Department.

“He has had a lot of narcotic busts with traffic stops and that varies from any variety of pills, marijuana and meth,” said Upsall.

Upsall talks about the difference between being a regular police officer and a K9 officer.

“With a K9, you learn the true meaning of honor, respect and honesty. I couldn’t tell you how many times Fritz has called somebody’s bluff to where any human couldn’t see it coming. That was his sole purpose, his job, to tell me and make sure I was OK. To this day, I don’t see that ever stopping. You’re guaranteed a partner that would do anything for you, wrong or right. It doesn’t matter. He’s always going to be right there and always have your back,” Upsall said.

Retiring K9 Fritz relaxes at home.

Fritz will be a full-time pet at the Upsall household in his retirement.

If the decision comes to have another K9 in place, Officer Upsall said it will probably involve another officer.

“For the Sheriff’s Department, I can’t say whether they will or won’t. I could only hope that they would. I can’t say that it will be me personally. After having Fritz, I feel that I have been very fortunate and very spoiled with him. The dog saved my life,” said Upsall. “I don’t think I could take another dog on and let him watch that dog go to work with me while he stays home.”

Upsall thanks you for helping bring the K9 into the community.

“I would like to thank everybody in the community that came together with this dog. This couldn’t have happened without any of you, especially with the donations,” Upsall explained. “Dr. Johnson at the San Pierre Veterinary Clinic, she saved Fritz from heart worms. He did suffer through heart worms for a while and made a full recovery. I can’t thank you guys enough. Thank you so much.”

For more on Fritz’s story, click on the following links:

Fritz’s story page 1

Fritz’s story page 2