Friday, May 26, 2017

(April 2017) Arizona: Avondale PD welcomes Bearded Dragon as newest cop on the beat

ARIZONA -- What has four legs, a very cool tail, a good-looking beard and spectacular climbing skills?

It’s the newest member of the Avondale Police Department – Officer Iroh.

If you’re thinking there’s a new K-9 on the force, you didn’t look at the picture or read the headline.

Iroh is a bearded dragon who has been promoted from department mascot to full-fledged cop.

Chief Dale Nannenga swore him in Thursday. The “photos or it didn’t happen” proof is on Avondale P.D.’s Facebook page. Iroh looks serious but proud, which is exactly how a newly minted officer should look.

Avondale P.D. first introduced Iroh to us in an announcement last April about the department’s new drug-sniffing bearded dragon.

“Research has shown that reptiles possess a strong sense of smell making their ability to detect certain illicit drugs possibly more accurate than K9s,” explained the Facebook announcement. “Our pilot program drug sniffing bearded dragon will be assisting Officers in the City. Please help us welcome Iroh!”

Super cool, right?

One guess what day in April that happened.

Little did Nannenga and his team know what a true asset Iroh would become.

“Iroh has turned out to be a valuable member of the Avondale Police family,” according to a Facebook post on Feb. 15. “His skill set is so extensive that we have cross trained him in many areas.”


Irho was “running radar with Motors” that day, and he looked like he was rocking it.

A couple of days later he turned up in dispatch.

After that, he spent some time on paperwork with Assistant Chief Lynn Parkin.

“Iroh has a keen eye for typos,” according to the Facebook post.

Iroh just might be the busiest reptile since the Geico Gecko, and he’s good at his job, killing it no matter the assignment. Hence the promotion.

Bearded dragons are generally friendly and calm, attributes that will make Iroh a great cop.

Avondale P.D. has promised to keep us all up to date on Iroh’s adventures. Just keep an eye on the hashtag #IrohAdventures.


April Fool's Joke turns bearded dragon into Avondale PD mascot
Fox10Phoenix - April 20, 2017

He's not your typical pet or mascot.

"He's kind of transformed into our mascot now for our department," said Ray Emmett of Avondale Police Department.

But a lot of people are following Iroh's adventures on social media.

"After we put the initial post out there, we got a lot of requests. People wanted to see more of Iroh," said Emmett.

The first post came out on April Fool's Day last year, when the Avondale Police Department's social media committee posted a photo of the bearded dragon on Facebook, saying he was a "drug-sniffing lizard."

The joke was a big hit, so the police dispatcher, Veronica Rojas, allowed the committee to use her bearded dragon for more posts.

"I figured a few people would like it and got excited when it reached 100 and never really thought it would make it like this," said Rojas. "He's really good with looking at the camera and getting excited for his photos."

Since that first post, Iroh has been all over the department.

He's helped motorcycle cops catch speeding cars with a radar gun, worked with dispatchers, and helped proofread paperwork for other officers. He also received a special honor.

"He just got certified, just got sworn in last week as an officer," said Emmett.

That's right. The chief swore him in as an officer, badge and all.

And even though he's not really able to sniff out drugs, or do real police work, he's still a big part of the Avondale PD and the community.

"It's kind of a great way to when we do put him on social media, we can show different areas of the department people don't think about all the time," said Emmett.


(AZ Family - April 14, 2017)

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