Meet Our Team


K9s United is predominately a volunteer-based organization with very little overhead in employee salaries. We take the financial dedication of our donors very seriously and commit to assure their gifts make the greatest impact for our K9s and their Units.  Our Leadership has been selected because of their passion for our mission, the willingness to stay true to our vision, and have a devotion to our K9 heroes.




Debbie Johnson
Financial Professional

Learning about the tragedy of K9 Baron, October 7, 2014, something special happened. She turned her grief into inspiration and realized that she could do more for the K9s that serve and protect us.

Debbie wanted to learn more, so she applied for, and was accepted to the Civilian Law Enforcement Academy class. There, she learned more about the department and its budget needs. She also had the opportunity to meet Baron’s handler, Deputy Farrah Ashe. Debbie realized that there was a real need to support our K9 heroes, so she applied for a 501c3 non-profit, which was approved in June 2015 and K9s United was born.

Debbie not only has a full-time career and a passion for fulfilling the mission of K9s United, but she is also a mom to her daughter, Emma and a wife to her husband BJ. Debbie also has three dogs, Mattie, Gunnar and Storm.




Robert A. Hardwick
Chief of Police, St. Augustine Beach Police Department

Robert A. Hardwick was selected in November 2012 as the 11th Chief of Police for the St. Augustine Beach Police Department. On January 7th of 2013, he assumed the duties and responsibilities of the agency after being sworn in by the commissioners. He previously served as the Assistant Chief Investigator with the Office of the State Attorney 7th Judicial Circuit, which encompasses Flagler, Putnam, St. Johns and Volusia Counties. At the State Attorney’s Office, he supervised investigations over the four counties to include: homicide, police corruption, governor assignments and special prosecutions. During his approximate 24-year law enforcement career Chief Hardwick also worked at the St. Augustine Police Department, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Corrections.

Chief Hardwick has a Bachelor of Science Degree from Flagler College and a Master of Arts Degree from Barry University. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, Session 247 and a graduate of the FBI’s Florida Executive Development Seminar, Class 16. Chief Hardwick is also a graduate of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Chief Executive Seminar, Session 48.

Chief Hardwick has been married to his wife for 25 years, they have two sons.




Dr. Herb Loeman, DVM MSc, BSc

Dr. Herb grew up on a small farm in Canada. After graduating from the Atlantic Veterinary College in PEI, he worked for three years in a mixed animal practice outside Calgary, Alberta. Dr. Herb loves all types of animals. He has practiced for ten years and always says that it feels like he has never worked one day. Dr. Herb especially likes orthopedic surgery and has a soft heart for rescue animals. He is currently the veterinarian for the Saint Johns County Pet Center and the Saint Johns County Sheriff Office Canine Unit.

Dr. Herb’s rescue dog, Leo can always be seen riding with him to farm calls. He also has two rescue cats at home named Spartacus and Ratone. When he's not rescuing animals, he enjoys traveling to the Caribbean Islands where he can kite surf and relax on the beach.




Robert Ramos
Deputy Sheriff, Orange County (FL) Sheriff's Office

Robert Ramos began his career with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office in June of 1986. Due to his ability to adapt, in 1988 he was selected to be part of a special 6-month detail with the narcotics unit. After this project, he returned to patrol until 1989. Shortly after, he began his favorite part of his career, becoming a K9 Handler, and currently holds this position with his ninth partner, Koa, who is a dual-purpose dog.

In 2001, he became a Florida Department of Law Enforcement Certified K9 Instructor. With five years of experience in this position, he became a Certified FDLE K9 Evaluator. He has trained 50 full-service K9 teams and 30 single purpose dogs during his career. Along with helping with maintenance training for various other companies, Deputy Sheriff Ramos has dedicated a significant amount of his time to volunteering and helping the youth of Central Florida. Since 2004, he has been a member of "Beat the Heat,” a non-profit organization which teaches young people the dangers of street racing and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.




Jason Holbrook
Shareholder, Rogers | Towers

Jason first learned about and became involved with K9s United through a 5k event.  After less than a year of involvement with K9s United, Jason agreed to join the Board of Directors to help the often under-supported K9 and Law Enforcement Officers in many areas around the country.  

Jason is a Shareholder in Rogers Tower's Litigation Department.  He focuses his practice on significant and complex civil litigation, including wrongful death cases, trucking ( Commercial Motor Carrier) accidents, and catastrophic injury cases.  Jason is a graduate of Slippery Rock University (BA), The University of Akron College of Business Administration (MBA) and the University of Akron School of Law (JD).  Jason is admitted to practice in all Florida State Courts and has been selected to join Florida Super Lawyers as well as Florida Trend Magazine’s Legal Elite.  Both are peer selected groups consisting of less than 5% of Florida Attorneys.

He currently lives in the Ponte Vedra area with his wife, two kids, two dogs and two (maybe three) cats. Jason enjoys football, trips to the beach, spending time with family, friends, and coaching his  kids’ various sports programs.




Kathi Harrell
Lieutenant, ST Augustine Beach Police Department

Chief Hardwick selected Lieutenant Harrell in August 2014 for her diverse skills in law enforcement. Lt. Harrell is an experienced non-sworn law enforcement veteran with over 20 years’ experience covering many disciplines. Lt. Harrell is currently responsible for the overall administrative operations which include, records management, agency budget, and multiple computer programs. Additionally, she serves as the FDLE Terminal Tac Coordinator, FALCON Administrator, and department SMART-COP liaison. Lt. Harrell supervises the agency’s crime prevention program, volunteers and then oversees the accreditation process. She has attended the Florida Police Chief’s Association Core Training Levels I and II for administrative/executive assistants, along with multiple other executive-level training courses. Lt. Harrell is also an FDLE CJSTC certified instructor. She is very experienced and educated with FEMA’s ICS process and represents our agency in the emergency operations center or designated command post during critical events.

Lt. Harrell is a dedicated member of the SABPD Command Staff with extensive administrative leadership expertise. Lt. Harrell has been married to her husband for 20 years, they have two children.




Officer Patrick McGauley & K9 Monsoor

Patrick is a shift supervisor and K9 handler for the Baker County Sheriff’s Office, where he has served for 11 years. Prior to his law enforcement career, Patrick spent six years in the Marine Corps Reserves and deployed to Iraq twice, in 2003 with 4th Amphibious Assault Battalion and with Small Craft Company patrolling the Euphrates River in Ramadi in 2006.

Patrick has been a K9 handler since 2010 and is also the agency’s K9 trainer. He was a member of the BCSO Special Response Team and held positions of sniper and team leader, before deciding to dedicate himself entirely to the K9 Unit. Patrick is also an instructor at Florida Gateway College Public Service Training Center where he teaches at the law enforcement academy. He is currently partnered with his second dog Monsoor, a Dutch Shepherd certified in patrol and narcotics detection. Patrick named Monsoor after MA2 Michael Monsoor, a Navy Seal who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Ramadi in 2006. Patrick became involved in K9s United after founder Debbie Johnson reached out to offer assistance with the needs of the BCSO K9 Unit. Debbie’s genuine concern for working dogs and her drive to provide law enforcement K9 units with everything they need inspired Patrick to assist the organization.

Patrick lives in Glen St. Mary, FL with his wife and three children.




nicole Brose

Nicole is a graduate of Purdue University with advanced studies from the University of Massachusetts and University of Auckland, New Zealand. She is the co-founder and Creator of Opportunities of NonProfix, a consulting firm that assists nonprofits with strategic development planning, including digital asset creation and marketing, among other similar areas of expertise. Nicole has helped raise millions of dollars for nonprofits; with a particular interest in those fighting for causes she is passionate about—such as K9s United. 

Nicole has served in nearly every nonprofit role from volunteer, development director, executive director, to CEO of a national nonprofit. She has worked in Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and the United Kingdom. Past board roles include, the Jacksonville Mayor’s Animal Task Force, Second Chance Rescue, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hope To Help Foundation, Flagler Humane Society, Mayor’s Task Force on Health and Wellness for NE Florida, George Washington Carver Foundation, Florida Women’s Health Council, among others. 



Justin Rigney and K9 Zeke

K9s United Advisory Board Member

Justin Rigney has been a Law Enforcement Officer for 16 years, nearly 10 of which he spent as a K9 handler and trainer, where he had the opportunity to work with three dogs. He and K9 Bosky, a German Shepherd, were a team with an accredited Law Enforcement agency in South Florida for six years. During this time they were responsible for hundreds of arrests and apprehensions of violent felony offenders, and he has been instrumental in the recovery of numerous articles of valuable evidence, most notably being the tracking and apprehension of a serial rapist.

After Bosky's retirement, Justin worked with K9 Zeke for a year and a half, also a German Shepherd, that he raised from a puppy. This team was extremely successful in criminal apprehension. Justin was a Corporal and trainer for his agency, which has one of the largest K9 Units in the United States. Justin is a former member of the Davie Police Department and their K9 unit, where he was the handler for K9 Vader. Justin has been training dogs professionally for nearly 25 years and is the head trainer for K9 Services Unlimited LLC. ( During his professional dog training career, he has trained with hundreds of Police K9 teams, competed in Schutzhund, Ring Sport and other dog sports. He has also trained dogs for celebrities, professional athletes and thousands of dog owners. Justin has recently graduated and was awarded a diploma in the NePoPo Gold training system, the modern language of dog training by Bart Bellon.




Officer Charlie Wilkie & K9 Gator

Charlie has served as a police officer with the Jacksonville, FL Sheriff Department for 25 years, Nassau County SO as a deputy for several years as well. He has been part of a K9 unit for over 18 years and is a distinguished member of the JSO Honor Guard. Charlie was drawn to the K9 unit because of his love of animals and belief that K9s tend to lead the way in law enforcement. K9 Gator and Charlie have been together for over 5 ½ years and were consistently one of the top producing K9 teams in their unit.

K9 Gator loves belly rubs, dog biscuits and beef jerky. He hates water hoses.


Jeremie Nix and K9 Drago.jpg


Deputy jeremie nix & k9 drago

Jeremie has served as a deputy with the Marion County, FL Sheriff’s Office since 2000. He has been a K9 Handler since 2002, and is currently the departments K9 Unit trainer.

While working as a K9 Handler, Jeremie was assigned to the patrol devision, then a joint agency narcotics task force for several years, followed by an assignment to a highway criminal interdiction unit, and is now currently assigned to the patrol devision working his 4th K9. 

Jeremie started working K9 Drago in July of 2017. Drago is a Slovakian import dual purpose, patrol and narcotics detection, German Shepherd who loves to work.




Officer David Buck

Officer David Buck’s law enforcement career began in 1998 with the U.S. Coast Guard where he has served for over twenty years.  He has been a police officer in Connecticut since 2004 and has been involved in K-9 since 2006. In 2008 Ofc Buck transferred to the City of Meriden Police Department which did not have a K-9 unit.  After training his own dog K-9 Anouke, he submitted a proposal to the Chief of Police and the unit was reinstated. Ofc Buck and Anouke primarily worked the midnight shift and have been on hundreds of deployments locating suspects, missing persons, narcotics and several firearms.

In 2017 Ofc Buck obtained a GSD puppy from the Czech Republic and while continuing to train and work with Anouke he began the environmental foundation and police K-9 training with the new dog K-9 Aslan. K-9 Anouke retired in May 2019 and after hundreds of hours training K-9 Aslan he passed his certification and is now Ofc Buck’s current partner. Both K-9 Anouke and K-9 Aslan have been certified by the North American Police Work Dog Association and the Connecticut Police Work Dog Association of which Ofc Buck has been the secretary of since 2015. Since starting the K-9 program with K-9 Anouke back in 2011 the program is now expanding to a four dog unit in a 120 member department. 




EMMA & K9 Storm

Meet Emma and Storm (K9s United Mascot). Emma is our founder, Debbie Johnson's, daughter and has fallen in love with the K9 Units as much as her mom. Emma hosts two fundraisers each year. One is a bake sale as she loves to bake, and the other is a Emma's Family Fun Day. She also has a holiday kong drive, collecting as many as she can to take around to law enforcement agencies on Christmas Eve. Emma is a true advocate for K9s United and has raised over $10,000. Storm is a Belgian Malinois from Holland, and is always seen close to Emma’s side.