On March 7th, 2023, the City Council recognized the retirement of K-9 officer Duco, as presented by Police Chief James Brandon.
Duco is an 11-year old Dutch Shephard that came to the Southlake Police Department from the Netherlands in February of 2015. He was partnered with Officer Nate Anderson and together they have been responsible for tracking felons, numerous drug busts, and apprehending criminals, as displayed by his mutual aid with the Colleyville Police Department two weeks ago.
Duco has been a partner that is an excellent interpreter of aggression, intent, body language, and energy. He has been trusted to interpret these intentions and react appropriately in any situation.
“When I’m told that Duco and Officer Anderson have been deployed in Southlake or one of our surrounding cities, I don’t feel apprehensive,” Chief Brandon said. “I immediately feel confident that the situation will be handled appropriately. We can simply do no better than Duco and Officer Anderson.”
Although Duco is retiring, Officer Anderson will soon receive another partner and continue in his capacity as a K-9 handler.
“Duco has been a match for me the moment we crossed paths,” Officer Anderson said. “He elevated me as a handler and allowed me to experience and accept challenges that were far outside my comfort zones.”
Chief Brandon, speaking on behalf of a grateful City and Police Department, wished Duco a great retirement of “ear scratches and tennis balls.”
When he arrived in Southlake in 1999, Ken Baker already had almost a decade of planning experience. In the time since he has used his considerable skill and knowledge to help develop Southlake into what it is today.
With his recent retirement announcement, it has been observed that he spent 23 years on the job in Southlake, but his impact will likely last for many more to come.
“It is difficult to come up with the words to fully describe Ken Baker’s impact on our city,” said Shana Yelverton, city manager. “We have strong comprehensive plans, an effective set of development regulations, outstanding support of the business and development community, and a pool of talented planning staff dedicated to serving the city. All of this is directly attributable to Ken’s work.”
Ken began his career with Southlake in 1999 as a planner, eventually becoming Director in 2004. As the leader of the planning and development services department, he has enjoyed recognition in the community and also in his profession.
Ken’s team has received more than 16 awards for work on comprehensive planning, project planning, tree preservation and urban forestry, and their strong partnership with the building community. In addition, Ken was recognized as planner of the year by the Midwest section of the Texas chapter of the American Planning Association. He has also received numerous awards from the city.
“To me, one of the best things about working with Ken has been his approach,” said Yelverton. “Ken is a kind and patient person, and he is absolutely committed to doing his job professionally and effectively. He has an innate ability to work with people which stems from the fact that he is a great person.”
Baker’s last day is October 24. Deputy Director Dennis Killough has been appointed to serve as Interim Director beginning October 25.
Today, retirement may last twenty to thirty years or more. There are so many factors to consider, such as when you can afford to retire, where you may want to live, and how you would like to spend your time. Check out some new books from the Southlake Library that might help you answer those very questions.