Officer Ben Ricks - Capone
My name is Ben Ricks. I work with my partner Capone. We have been members of the Unified Police Department K9 Unit since 2011 and we have both loved every second of our work together.
After returning home from serving in the military for 6 years, I quickly realized that the standard 9 to 5 job was not for me. I began my Law Enforcement career in 2007 as a Corrections Officer at the Salt Lake County Jail. I attended the Utah Police Academy at night to earn my police certification. I transferred to the Sheriff’s Office Patrol Division in 2008 and then to the UPD K9 Unit in 2011. I began my K9 career with an IED (bomb) detection dog named Baer. We were partners for about a year before Baer left the Department for a more appealing job working on cruise ships. His job was to conduct preventative sweeps for potential explosives making that industry much safer. I think he also preferred the tropics and fringe benefits that the travel industry had to offer!
Although Capone is such an important member of my family, I understand that he is equally important to the citizens of Salt Lake County and to the officers of the UPD. Capone can search large areas and large buildings very quickly and efficiently which frees up other patrol assets to handle different work and calls for service. He uses his enhanced senses to make my job much more effective. His sense of hearing is superior. His eyesight is much more sensitive to slight movement than human eyesight. Of course, his sense of smell is much superior to the human’s olfactory ability. Capone can run faster than an Olympian and is trained to capture fleeing, dangerous felons. Sometimes his simple but intimidating presence is sufficient to convince the toughest criminals to cooperate!
Capone is a tan colored Belgian Malinois born in 2008. Like several others in our Unit, he is a dual-purpose dog. He is internationally certified in both drug detection and criminal apprehension. Don’t let his name fool you. Capone is a very affectionate and playful dog during his off-duty hours. He loves to play tug and run in the yard but most of all he loves to have his belly scratched.
Every day my assignment as a K9 handler and trainer provides many unique challenges. I am very fortunate to have a supportive family, such great coworkers ...and one amazing police dog!