The Best of Savannah

K9 ROCKY: Best Police Officer and Best Islands Resident





While strolling the streets of Tybee Island, you might come across Connect Savannah’s “2023 Best Police Officer,” but he won’t be dressed in blue—and he won’t even speak to you. 

That’s because this officer has four paws and goes by the name K-9 Rocky, Tybee Island Police’s famous goodwill ambassador—a black German Shepherd that’s the star of the force!

In August of 2022, The Tybee Island Police Department promoted K9 Rocky, a former shelter dog, to the rank of Senior Patrol Officer.

Over two years ago, the Tybee Island Police Department entered into a partnership with the Humane Society for Greater Savannah called “K9 For a Day”. 

As part of that program, a shelter animal joins Tybee police officers on patrol twice a month in order to exercise, socialize and increase their chances for adoption. 

K9 ROCKY: Best Police Officer and Best Islands Resident
Becky Flaxer
K9 Rocky and Lt. Emory Randolph of the Tybee Island Police Dept.

Little did the officers know, that same program would lead to the adoption of the first dog to ever work for their agency.

Rocky officially joined the team in June of 2020. Of course, he isn’t your typical police dog. Instead of sniffing out bombs, drugs or bad guys, Rocky’s whole job is to make people smile. 

While serving as an animal ambassador, Rocky has attended community events across The Coastal Empire, and has also made visits to assisted living facilities, summer camps, churches and a club for adults with special needs. 

In addition to his regular duties, Rocky has helped to raise money and donations for various non-profit organizations, to include his friends at the Humane Society for Greater Savannah, Renegade Paws Rescue, Savannah Wildlife Rescue, Safe Shelter, the Georgia Police K9 Foundation and the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire.

Handler Lieutenant Emory Randolph has been working alongside Rocky for over two years, but has been in the Savannah area for just over 13 years, only recently taking on his K-9 partner.

“We started in January of 2020. We created a program with the Humane Society of Greater Savannah called K-9 for a Day. As part of that program, we take shelter animals on patrol twice a month, exercise them, and socialize them,” Lt. Randolph said.

The K-9 for a Day program was a sweeping success with 55 out of 56 dogs being adopted due to the efforts of the Tybee Island Police Department.

“Leading up to Rocky’s day out, the Humane Society kept telling me, ‘You’re going to want to adopt one of those dogs.’ And I kept telling them my Chief wouldn’t let me do it.”

Rocky would be dog number 6 in the program. Lt. Randolph said Rocky’s first experience with police work was one to be remembered.

“We got to the police department, and he got away from me and just started running down the hall.”

He continued, “Rocky goes around the corner into the kitchen area where our break room is, and I hear my Chief’s voice. And now I’m really dead, right? I go around the corner, and the Chief is sitting at the table, and Rocky is in his lap licking him in the face. The Chief is just laughing. He looks at me and goes, ‘Let me guess you want to adopt this dog.’”

Lt. Randolph explained that it was really the Humane Society that wanted them to take Rocky, but he wasn’t sure if the German Shepherd had made the right first impression. But, with little convincing, Rocky was already part of the force. He graduated from the program and into a police badge.

But Rocky isn’t like a typical police dog; he actually has no formal police training. Rocky’s purpose is solely to be an ambassador for the people and pets of Tybee Island.

Off the clock, Rocky is a big goofball, according to Randolph. A fiend for balls and dog parks, Rocky is like any other typical dog, just with a few extra responsibilities.

“When we’re out there on the street, we do community outreach. When we’re not attending special events, we’ve gone to schools, nursing homes, and churches.”

But having a dog as a partner has its perks. Lt. Randolph explained that he always wanted to be a police officer and took a special interest in K-9 handling. 

Although he wasn’t able to become a traditional K-9 officer, he says that things not only worked out the way they should, they worked out for the better.

“I’ve come to realize that the reason it never worked out before was because it was always supposed to be Rocky. I truly believe that it was always supposed to be Rocky.”

There is one drawback to having such a popular pooch as your partner.

“It’s slightly aggravating that everywhere I go everyone asks, ‘Where’s Rocky?’,” he joked. “But it comes with the territory.”

From shelter dog to public servant, Rocky continues to serve Tybee Island, bringing joy to just about everyone he meets. 

And if you find yourself looking at shelter dogs, you might just see the next “Best Police Officer” waiting for their chance.

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