UI police dog K9 Falo retires after 4 years of service

K9 Falo has retired after four and a half years of service due to a medical condition. He will remain with his handler and adoptive mom, Officer Jackie Anderson.



Kate Pixley, News Reporter

A University of Iowa K9 officer enjoyed his first night of retirement by digging into a dog-friendly cake.

Falo retired from the University of Iowa police on Dec. 1 because of a neurological medical condition after four years of service.

Falo is a 5.5-year-old Belgian Malinois. Malinois, which are classified as herding dogs, typically live until 14 to 16 years of age. The dogs are known for their confidence and being hardworking, according to the American Kennel Club. These traits make them especially suited for police service.

Alongside his handler, Officer Jaclyn Anderson, Falo worked security at football games and investigated several high-profile cases.

The UI police released a statement announcing Falo’s medical retirement and detailing his most prominent cases.

“[Falo] trained as a Dual Purpose K9, specializing in explosive detection and patrol, which includes tracking, apprehension, handler protection, and evidence recovery,” the press release said. “In his short career, Falo was deployed numerous times to assist area law-enforcement agencies, which included eight apprehensions of fleeing suspects.”

Falo’s notable cases included a June 2017 shooting in Iowa City, a December 2016 armed robbery in Iowa City, and a 2018 home invasion in Ottumwa, Iowa.

Falo also located the gun used in the 2015 murder of Andrea Farrington at Coral Ridge Mall. Anderson described this find as one of the most powerful moments in her experience with Falo. Alexander Kozak, the shooter, was later apprehended by the Iowa State Patrol and was found guilty in April 2016.

Margaret Kispert
Margaret Kispert
Officer Anderson plays with her dog Falo outside the training course in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, May 13, 2015.

Falo was one of two K9s in the UI police, serving alongside K9 Jago and his handler, Officer Jess Bernhard. K9 Jago and Bernhard will continue to serve the UI community and other local law-enforcement agencies.

“Thank you for your service and assisting OUR officers on a multitude of calls,” the Coralville police said in a Twitter post. “You did your part in keeping this community safe and we thank you. Enjoy retirement.”

According to a press release, the UI police plan to purchase another K9 in the future.

Falo will spend his retirement living the good life with his handler, Anderson, and family.

Falo gained popularity through a Twitter page ran by Anderson. As of Dec. 2, Falo’s Twitter had more than 6,600 followers.

Followers of the page got a glimpse into the work life of a K9 and Falo’s affinity for “squishies.”

Anderson posted a statement on Falo’s Twitter page explaining the situation and thanking the public for its support.

Margaret Kispert
Officer Anderson’s dog Falo poses for a photo outside the training course in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, May 13, 2015.

“Four years working with Falo was not enough,” Anderson said. “Working with Falo [has] been the best four years of my career. Nothing else even compares. We did so many cool things together. He had some great finds and I was able to experience things and meet people I would never had had the opportunity to do otherwise.”

Falo had received treatment from the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, where a neurologist recommended that Falo medically retire. The decision was made with input from veterinarians and the UI police, Anderson said.

As of the end of Anderson’s and Falo’s last shift, Falo officially retired and Anderson became his owner.

“I plan to give him the best possible life in retirement, continuing to search for things that can help decrease his symptoms and maintain a high quality of life for him,” Anderson said.

Several area law-enforcement agencies, including the Coralville police, thanked Falo for his service.

“He was more than just a partner,” Anderson said. “It’s rare that you find your passion, and you actually get paid to do it.”