Over the past nine years, Sgt. Scott Hedger and his K-9 partner Jaxx, have been inseparable.

They handled 480 requests for narcotics detection that resulted in 186 narcotic seizures and 24 felony cases along with 40 searches for criminals that resulted in 16 arrests.

Jaxx conducted 80 drug sniffs at the request of the school district and appeared in 95 public demonstrations to highlight the Grain Valley Police Department’s K-9 Unit.

And on June 25, Jaxx retired and Hedger’s newest partner, Axel, was introduced.

Axel is Hedger’s sixth K-9 partner since he created the K-9 Unit in 1991.

Jaxx is now Hedger’s constant companion at his home, while Axel is still working into the new job.

“Jaxx started with me back in 2010,” said Hedger. “When you’re looking for a dog, you want an animal that is high energy, likes to hunt, is confident and enjoys being around and playing with his handler.”

While many individuals immediately think of a German shepherd as the role model for a K-9 Unit membet, Hedger said there is a more popular breed he often seeks out when looking for a dog.

“I like the Belgian Malinois,” Hedger said. “Jaxx is a Belgian Malinois and is simply the best dog I ever worked with. Your K-9 partner becomes your actual partner – much like a human partner – they just aren’t as talkative.

“You spend 12 hours a day with them, and you get to know them and they get to know you. It’s really an incredible bond. It was pretty special watching him grow and develop over the years.

“Now, he gets so excited when I come home to see him. I think he still wonders why this new dog in the house (Axel) gets to go out with me, but he’ll understand. I spend as much time with him at home as I can. He’s a smart, lovable dog who was a big, big part of my life the past nine years.”

Axel is an 18-month German shepherd who has great potential.

“He’s smart, just like Jaxx, and he’s going to be a great member of the K-9 Unit,” Hedger explained. “A K-9 member lives with his handler, so both of them live with me, but I keep them separated.”

When asked about special memories of Jaxx over the past nine years, a few moments come to mind.

“Luckily for both of us, we were never shot at,” Hedger said, “but when a suspect, a burglar, was in a home and we let Jaxx in there, that was pretty much the end of that. No one wanted to mess with Jaxx.

“You’d hear, ‘I give up,’ pretty much a second or two after we let him into the house. They knew what they were in for if they didn’t give up.”

Hedger will travel wherever it’s necessary to find a perfect dog.

“I went down to Texas to get Jaxx,” he explained. “We did a field test and knew he was the right dog for the job.”

While he was adept at flushing out predators, Jaxx was equally impressive dealing with the public.

“You didn’t want to approach him when he was in our patrol car,” Hedger said. “That was his territory, and he didn’t want anyone near it. But I could take him to schools or events and he was great with the public, especially little kids. He had more fun than they did.”

 

Fact box

Sgt. Scott Hedger’s K-9 trained dogs in the metro area:

Independence – 5

Jackson County – 4

Blue Springs – 2

Cass County – 2

Lee’s Summit – 2

Oak Grove – 1

Grandview – 1