Retiring Battle Ground police K-9 officer honored

In six years with the department, Luca assisted in 84 arrests

BATTLE GROUND — After a career spanning six years, a Battle Ground police officer was honored with a retirement ceremony at Monday’s city council meeting. 

Battle Ground Police Chief Bob Richardson presents a plaque of recognition to K-9 Officer Luca and Sgt. Chris Crouch. Luca is retiring after six years with the force. Photo by Chris Brown
Battle Ground Police Chief Bob Richardson presents a plaque of recognition to K-9 Officer Luca and Sgt. Chris Crouch. Luca is retiring after six years with the force. Photo by Chris Brown

An officer of the four-legged variety.

K-9 officer Luca and his handler, Sgt. Chris Crouch, logged nearly 1,800 training hours together, deployed 284 times, and captured 84 suspects with only six bites.

“Which I assume were all Luca’s and not Chris’,” joked Battle Ground Police Chief Bob Richardson who, himself, will be retiring early next year.

Aside from helping to arrest bad guys, Luca and Sgt. Crouch were also great advocates for the department, attending 76 events, meet and greets, and demonstrations provided in and around Battle Ground.

When asked, Sgt. Crouch cited a case from 2014 as the highlight of Luca’s career.  After receiving information from the U.S. Marshals that a homicide suspect was believed to be hiding out in a residence in La Center, Crouch and Luca were dispatched to assist in the multi-jurisdictional response to apprehend the suspect.

Battle Ground Police K-9 Officer Luca waits for a command from his handler, Sgt. Chris Crouch. Luca, who is retiring, was honored at Monday’s city council meeting. Photo by Chris Brown
Battle Ground Police K-9 Officer Luca waits for a command from his handler, Sgt. Chris Crouch. Luca, who is retiring, was honored at Monday’s city council meeting. Photo by Chris Brown

It was quickly discovered that the suspect had fled on foot about two hours before Law Enforcement arrived.

“Better late than never,” joked Richardson, “but we get there.”

After nearly three hours of searching the woods, Luca picked up the suspect’s scent and began actively tracking him.  

“Shortly thereafter, through ‘dogged’ determination, K-9 Officer Luca flushed the suspect out of the trees and made physical contact … come on, we all know what that means,” said Richardson to a round of laughter, “with him, before SWAT members safely took him into custody. Not only did Luca overcome the odds of the time delay with this capture, he helped apprehend a violent suspect and provided an early warning of the suspect’s presence for the officers so all involved were able to carry out their mission safely.”

Holding onto a bite stick, Luca posed for pictures with several young children from Daybreak School who had drawn pictures for him.

K-9 officer Luca and his handler, Sgt. Chris Crouch, receive a plaque from Battle Ground Police Chief Bob Richardson at Monday’s city council meeting. Luca is retiring after six years with the force. Photo by Chris Brown
K-9 officer Luca and his handler, Sgt. Chris Crouch, receive a plaque from Battle Ground Police Chief Bob Richardson at Monday’s city council meeting. Luca is retiring after six years with the force. Photo by Chris Brown

Luca, who is 8 years old and dealing with joint damage in his right-front leg (not work-related), will embark on a new chapter of his life, retiring to the home of the Crouch family. 

In the near future, Luca, along with Sgt. Crouch’s former K-9 partner, Haulf, will be commemorated for their service in a retired K-9 Officer display at the Battle Ground Police Station, Richardson announced.

Sgt. Crouch also recently announced he would be leaving the department to pursue other career opportunities. He said it’s unclear at this point if Battle Ground Police will invest in another K-9 officer. The cost of training and equipping a police dog range from $15,000 to $65,000 according to several online sources.

City of Battle Ground contributed information to this report.

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About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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