K9 Feature: Jacksonville Sheriff K9, Gator
Gator is a 7yr old Malinois from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in Jacksonville, FL. Gator loves his belly rubbed and beef jerky when he’s not out on patrol. The one thing that he doesn’t like is water hoses. Gator's partner for the last 5+ years is Officer Charlie Walker. Together, they are consistently one of the top producing partners in their unit. Officer Walker was drawn to becoming a K9 handler because of his love of animals and the fact that K9s lead the way. He loves watching his K9 on a call after he has trained him. “Watching the hard work pay off when locating bad guys or missing people, Gator’s drive and dedication to working a call are so satisfying.” Says Office Walker.
This year alone, Gator has located 15 kilos of cocaine and thousands of dollars in drug money. He has also aided in multiple car seizures due to the location of felony amounts of drugs hidden inside them.
This duo has received many commendations over the years. Their biggest was when they helped on the Cherish Periwinkle case. Cherish was abducted late in the evening from a local Walmart on June 21, 2013. As Officer Walker walked to Gators kennel the morning of the 22nd he heard the amber alert go out over the radio. He knew then they would spend their day searching for her. They looked for her all morning and later on they were advised that the suspect’s van had been spotted on I-95 and was being followed by other officers.
Walker and Gator were dispatched to intercept them on I-95 as it was approaching downtown.
As they ordered the suspect from the van, Officer Walker handcuffed and passed the subject off to another officer so that Gator could search the suspect’s van. No one was inside the van.
They were then advised of an area on the north side where the van had been seen behind a church. They responded to the area and deployed Gator on a track. Gator tracked immediately to an area near a creek. We located her remains in less than 10 minutes from the time we arrived.
They say that a K9 and his handler’s personalities run up and down the leash and they become more and more alike as time goes on. Officer Walker and K9 Gator are definitely a perfect match for each other.