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Life-saving police dog retires after 10 years' service

The Police Department of Eastern Finland congratulated Sysi on saving many lives and helping to catch several criminal suspects throughout a distinguished career.

Sysi began working with the Eastern Finland Police Department 10 years ago. Image: Itä-Suomen poliisi

A Belgian Shepherd named Sysi retired from the Eastern Finland Police Department at the end of June, bringing to a close 10 years of faithful service.

Sysi has lived with the same handler throughout those 10 years and will continue to do so through retirement.

"All police dogs are domestic pets and members of a family," Lieutenant Sami Joutjärvi told Yle.

Joutjärvi is Officer-in-Charge of Canine Operations at the Eastern Finland Police Department.

When announcing the retirement, the department noted that Sysi had saved many lives, helped to find several lost people and tracked down innumerable suspects throughout a distinguished career.

"Sysi has been involved in dozens of operations every year. It's fair to say that as a civil servant Sysi has earned its pension," Joutjärvi said.

Sysi's first day on duty in the city of Kuopio. Image: Itä-Suomen poliisi

The daily life of a police dog is physically far more demanding than that of a civilian dog. For example, police dogs have to move in physically challenging places, and be prepared to use force if necessary.

"Sysi will retire in exceptionally good shape," Joutjärvi said.

Most police dog handlers work with more than one dog during their careers, as forces generally aim to begin the process of replacing an older dog once it reaches the age of 8.

Sysi's replacement, a Belgian Shepherd nicknamed Putsi, moved in with the family in the summer of 2020, and will now take on Sysi's role with the police department.