GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT)-- The Grand Junction Police Department has a new officer in training. His name's Merlin and let’s just say, you better cooperate, because there's no getting away from him.
"He is a Dutch Shepherd and he was born in Slovakia,” said Joey Gonzalez, K-9 Officer with the Grand Junction Police Department.
He’s certainly cute and cuddly, but he’s also tough, taking down anyone with one bite.
"He is a very methodical, smart dog…he picked things up really quick, shocked me, shocked himself I think,” said Officer Gonzalez.
After eight weeks of training in Utah, he’s ready to hit our streets with his partner Officer Gonzalez.
"He’s like my partner, we ride around in that car together and I talk to him, he talks to me, and I’m happy to know he's always back there,” said Officer Gonzalez.
16-month-old Merlin is trained in narcotics, patrolling, and is working on tracking, learning more each day.
"He’s got to be able to trust me and then I have got to be able to trust him,” said Officer Gonzalez.
After a long day at work, he goes home and relaxes with Officer Gonzalez.
"I do have a family that he is around so it's just like a human, when he's not at work, he's a puppy, he's a dog. But when he's at work, he's focused and he knows what he needs to do,” said Officer Gonzalez.
Merlin’s got some big paws to fill as he’s only one of two K-9’s in the department patrolling all of Mesa County.
"To know that he's always back there with me I have a partner always with me, to know that the police department always has a partner always has somebody that they can count on is something very special to me and very dear to my heart,” said Officer Gonzalez.
Officer Gonzalez says Merlin’s favorite activity outside of work is laying down, eating bones, and playing outside in the yard.