The Grant County Sheriff's Office has lost another member of its K9 ranks.

On Thursday (Dec. 7), the sheriff's office announced that K9 Chewbacca is being retired after spending over five years on the force.

Spokesperson, Kyle Foreman, says Chewbacca's departure leaves the sheriff's office with only one remaining K9 unit.

"The Grant County Sheriff's Office also had K9 Edo and K9 Hawk retire in the past few months due to medical issues. That means only one K9 team - with Deputy (Luis) Jimenez and K9 Zedd - remains with us and they are currently our only K9 team."

Chewbacca, who's also known by the nickname "Chewy", is in good health but had to be retired due to his age. Chewy is now nine-and-a-half years old and the sheriff's office says he was starting to slow down and they didn't want to risk the Long-Haired German Shepard suffering an injury in the line of duty.

Foreman says the sheriff's office is already in the process of adding another dog to the force.

"We do have plans to bring a new K9 team on in 2024. The dog has not been selected yet because it's a pretty tedious process for us. The dog and its handler must be allowed to mesh and make a good connection and then they must go through training together. So it takes several months for that to happen so that we can be certain that they're going to make a solid team."

During his time with the sheriff's office, Chewy made a total of 146 deployments and assisted in making 94 arrests. He will now live out the rest of his days in retirement with his handler, Sgt. Nick Overland.

Foreman says the sheriff's office hopes to have its next K9 team ready by the end of next year.

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Officer Joey Gonzales and K9 Merlin have been a part of the Grand Junction Police Department since 2018. Here is a closer look at these crime-fighting partners.

Gallery Credit: Zane Mathews

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