UPDATE: Milledgeville Police confirmed on Dec. 10 that Falco secured the title over the weekend.
“This is a tremendous honor for both K9 Falco and his handler. I am extremely proud of them,” said Milledgeville Police Chief Dray Swicord.
It addition to the $500 check and medal, Falco and his handling officer Linc Boyer will also be featured on the next Georgia Police K9 Foundation marketing design, and they will also be given a $75 gift certificate to ALM Suits & K9 Equipment, 221B Tactical gloves, a certificate to a custom drawing of K9 Falco from Artwork by Allie Raines, a K9 Christmas ornament from Second to None Fabrication, a USA dog toy, an indestructible dog bone from Bulletproof pet products and a Georgia Police K9 Foundation challenge coin
If you thought your dog was head of the pack, one K9 in the Milledgeville Police Department might have them beat.
Falco with the Milledgeville Police Department is up for "K9 of the Year," a friendly competition between K9 units in the state of Georgia hosted by the Georgia Police K9 Foundation.
"Every handler is going to think their dog deserves it," said Linc Boyer, K9 handling officer for the Milledgeville Police Department.
"There’s a lot of great K9s throughout the state of Georgia, so of course everybody’s rooting for their own dog and of course I’m rooting for Falco."
The competition is held on Facebook.
The Georgia Police K9 Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to providing training and equipment for K9s across the state as well as education for communities about K9 units, has placed 100 photos of K9 dogs from across the state.
The competition is simple: earn the most likes on your post. The winner earns a series of prizes including $500 towards the department, gift certificates for K9 gear and a medal.
Falco joined the Milledgeville police force in 2016 and completes 15 to 20 hours of training monthly in article search (also known as evidence recovery), tracking, and handler defense.
Boyer said Falco's expertise is tracking and that he's completed 12 searches for people this year.
"90 percent of what we do is tracking. That is his thing," Boyer said.
"When we put the tracking harness on him, he knows it's time to work. That's his favorite thing to do and that's what keeps us busy 90 percent of the time."
Boyer and Falco are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Boyer said a police force or sheriff's office that has a K9 unit will often see their search success drastically increase. He said Falco's effort is what makes him a good candidate for "K9 of the Year."
Boyer said they've formed a special bond since they've joined forces.
"He’s my buddy. He’s with me 24 hours a day. He stays at my house with me. He comes to work with me," Boyer said. "When the patrol car pulls out the driveway, he thinks he’s supposed to be in that patrol car with me, no matter what."
To vote for Falco as "K9 of the Year" click this Facebook link and hit the like button. Voting ends on December 8 at midnight.