Retired Hillsborough K9 Officer Talon has died at the age of 14.
The department released a touching tribute to the four legged officer noting some of his many career highlights.
The German shepherd dog died peacefully Saturday, April 21, at home, surrounded by his four-footed and two-footed family at his favorite spot in the woods by the creek he loved. He was 14 years old and served the town for eight years before retiring in January 2015.
“It was truly a pleasure being Talon’s handler,” said Senior Cpl. Scott Foster, who worked with and cared for Talon since the police dog joined the town in 2006. Talon continued to live with Foster and his family during retirement. “I know for certain that he truly loved serving and protecting the citizens of Hillsborough.”
The K9 officer had a memorable and successful career with the department. As a dual-purpose patrol dog, Talon was able to track people, perform building searches and locate narcotics and items, such as discarded weapons, in addition to protecting his partner and apprehending suspects. He enjoyed tracking most, Foster said, noting, “He truly enjoyed the hunt.”
“I’ve seen Talon tracking a suspect over a mile and never show signs of letting up,” Foster said in 2010 for an employee spotlight on Talon. “I think that he would literally collapse from exhaustion before he would stop tracking somebody.” source
Some of Talon’s noteworthy accomplishments included:
Tracking and locating an elderly dementia patient who wandered away from Carillon Assisted Living and became lost on Occoneechee Mountain.
Tracking and locating three missing juveniles who became lost along the Eno River.
Tracking and locating a suicidal subject in the act of attempting suicide.
Assisting the Mebane Police Department and tracking, locating and apprehending a suspect involved in more than 300 car break-ins.
Tracking a suspect from the scene of residential and business break-ins to the suspect’s back door, where stolen property was recovered.
Performing a reverse track of a fleeing suspect and locating approximately 50 grams of cocaine discarded 6 feet off the ground in a tree.
Locating a hidden compartment containing drugs and firearms inside a vehicle.
Locating a firearm that was thought to have been hidden in a park by an impaired suspect.
Locating a firearm used in a shooting/robbery.
Assisting through his presence and barking in the capture of a fleeing felony suspect armed with a firearm. The suspect, who stopped running and surrendered, stated, “I didn’t know how good the officer could shoot, but I knew the dog wouldn’t miss.”
Talon also performed countless demonstrations for school classes and groups while working for the town. “Almost as much as the hunt, he enjoyed being an ambassador of the Hillsborough Police Department,” his handler said.
A favorite activity while off duty was jumping on a trampoline and chasing squirrels, and a favorite indulgence was vanilla ice cream, which he received as a reward for successful deployments.
An episode of the true crime podcast Criminal featuring Talon is the most requested episode when the Durham-based podcast team is touring, the host and co-creator, Phoebe Judge, told Foster. “Episode 29: Officer Talon” is available on Criminal’s website, www.thisiscriminal.com.
The Police Department’s remaining active K9 officer, Vader, continues to work with Foster. Another K9 officer, Viper, retired last fall at age 8 and lives with his handler, Cpl. Mike Toellen. Most police dogs retire between 6 and 10 years of age.