The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

UI police’s oldest, longest-serving K-9 Jago to retire after nine years of service

In his nine years of service, Jago has provided security for two sitting presidents and at the Field of Dreams.
Sahithi Shankaiahgari
University of Iowa Police Department Officer Jess Bernard pets K9 Jago at the Campus Safety space in University Capitol Centre on Friday, Nov. 17, 2023. Jago is set to retire after 10 years of service.

The University of Iowa Police Department’s longest-serving K-9, named Jago, is retiring on Saturday after one last call for service at the last Iowa home game this season. 

Jago will be recognized on the field during the third quarter and get to walk with the players back to the locker room. K-9 Jago has been providing security to Iowa athletics for nine years.

Not only does Jago keep the Iowa home games at Kinnick safe, but Jago has had a successful career providing security services for two sitting U.S. presidents, three vice presidents, four governors, and 17 Secret Service deployments for seven different presidential candidates. 

Jago also provided security at the Major League Baseball games at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa. Field of Dreams is a baseball field and tourist attraction that was built for the 1989 movie that has the same name.

The dog has assisted in criminal investigations by finding evidence, securing campus, and helping other law agencies across the state as an explosive detection K-9.

Jago joined the UIPD in January 2014 with qualifications both in explosive detection and patrol. According to Jago’s handler Officer Jess Bernhard there are only around a dozen explosive detection dogs in the state of Iowa. Bernhard is a certified K-9 handler and conducts training activities for UIPD’s K-9 unit.  

“It’s a high honor for me and it’s a great thing to have for all the different facilities we have and all the people that come to the University of Iowa,” Bernhard said. 

View more on Jago and Officer Bernhard:

Bernhard described the moment he knew Jago would be the dog he would work with for his career. Jago came from Vohne Liche Kennels in Indiana, which has trained police and military service dogs for over 5,000 law enforcement agencies. 

When Bernhard first met Jago in Indiana, he let Jago off the lead, which is not normal procedure when working with a new dog.

“He went about 30 yards out, came back, and ran up to me. As he did, I knelt down and he put his head on my shoulder,” Bernhard said. “It was like he selected me, I didn’t select him. So we’ve been together ever since.” 

UI Campus Safety Chief of Staff Hayley Bruce said the department will begin working on finding a new K-9 to take Jago’s place. UIPD has three K-9s and three handlers at any given time in the K-9 program. 

Jago turned 10 years old on Nov. 13, meaning the K-9 to soon retire due to age. Bernhard said he was emotional about soon not having Jago with him every day while working.

“I have had some good cries over it, but it’s been a great career and I couldn’t ask for more,” he said. 

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About the Contributor
Jack Moore
Jack Moore, News Editor
Jack Moore is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication. He is from Cedar Rapids Iowa. Along with working at The Daily Iowan, Jack works for the University of Iowa's UI-REACH program as a Resident Assistant. UI-REACH is a program for students with learning, cognitive, and behavioral disabilities intended to provide support to these students throughout their college experience. Additionally, Jack is involved in Iowa City's live music scene as he plays bass for local Iowa City band "Two Canes."