The Joplin Police Department has two new K-9s – Vice and Koa.
These police dogs underwent a rigorous selection process and then joined their handler for
an extensive 6-week training process in order to get them certified for police work.
These K9s and their assigned officer are trained by Travis Walthall, with Patriot K-9 Training, who is a
Master Trainer through the North American Police Work Dog Association.
The areas of focus for these K-9’s include narcotics detection, building clearing, tracking, and obedience. These dogs and their handlers will continue to train every week in order to maintain their skills and abilities and must recertify annually.
K-9 Vice is a year and a half old male German Shepherd. Vice will be assigned to K-9 Officer
Daniel Lenz, who has worked for the Joplin Police Department for 3 years and is also a Field
Training Officer, SWAT Team member, and was recognized as the Rookie of the Year in 2021
and has been awarded Officer of the Month twice in his career.
K-9 Koa is a year and a half old female Dutch Shepherd/Belgian Malinois mix. K-9 Koa will be
assigned to K-9 Officer Brad Rich, who has worked for the Joplin Police Department for 12 years
and is also a Field Training Officer, Taser Instructor, and Defensive Tactics Instructor.
Officer Rich was also recognized previously recognized as Rookie of the Year during his first year on
the department. Officer Rich is an experienced K-9 handler and this will be his 3rd K-9, after the recent retirement of K-9 Ax.
Officer Rich and K-9 Ax had previously been recognized for a life-saving award after locating an endangered female who had been reported missing.