Cocoa Police K9 Bear, ‘America’s Top Dog’, Recognized by Cocoa City Council For 8 Years of Dedicated Service
By Space Coast Daily // April 28, 2022
Bear joined the Cocoa Police Department in 2015
PD BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA, FLORIDA – Cocoa Police K9 Bear, AKA “America’s Top Dog,” was recognized by Cocoa City Council for his eight adventurous years of dedicated service.
“Thank you to our City Council for recognizing our Top Dog K9 Bear and his eight adventurous years of service,” said a Cocoa police spokesperson.
“Bear is officially retired. As the proclamation says, ‘K9 Bear was not only a tool to help his human police officer, he was and always will be a loyal friend’.”
Bear joined the Cocoa Police Department in March 2015 after being purchased with money donated by Cocoa residents and businesses.
From the start of their 24/7 relationship five years ago, Officer Dan Rhoades knew all 85 pounds of Bear made for an extraordinary canine. The German Shepherd, bred by Mike Green of the Sheriff’s Office for a special initiative, breezed through “drug school,” easily detecting narcotics even at 13 months.
The pup’s gait earned him his name.
“When I first saw him, he lumbered, just like a bear,” said Rhoades.
Although he was listed on the television show as a K-9 that “specializes in apprehensions,” Bear is, in reality, a multi-faceted pup who is equally adept at tracking and narcotics detection.
Rhoades will never forget Bear’s first find when an adult with the mental capacity of a seven-year-old wandered off from his mother near an Interstate 95 gas station in Cocoa. The man had seen a sign for Disney and thought he could just walk there while his mom was distracted by pumping gas.
Bear tracked him down to an abandoned mobile home, where the individual was found hiding in a closet.
“We walked past a window and Bear started going crazy,” he said.
Beyond the dramatic apprehensions and finds, Bear serves an important role simply by being himself. There are instances, such as in domestic incidents, when the dog diffuses the situation through just his imposing presence.
To keep in shape, Bear trains for four hours every Wednesday at locations that include specialized training fields, the woods, and even inside local businesses such as cabinetmakers Braden Kitchens in Cocoa.
Unlike many other police departments, Cocoa doesn’t require its K-9 officers to retire at any particular age.
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