Tiba is a 3 year old black Labrador Retriever who’s single purpose is to be a narcotics detector K9 for the Highland Heights (Kentucky) Police Department. She was purchased from Shallow Creek Kennels in Pennsylvania in April of 2013 with a donation from The Matt Haverkamp Foundation. Originally from the Netherlands, Tiba’s commands are in Dutch and she is certified through the North American Police Work Dog Association.
The narcotics that Tiba is trained to find are marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine. Tiba is not only deployed by Highland Heights Police Department, but also by all of the other agencies in Campbell County. Tiba and Lieutenant Conrad are called out several times a week on narcotics searches, and many times her indication leads to a probable cause search where the suspected narcotics are then, in fact, located. Heroin is a big problem right now in Kentucky and the entire Tri-State area and locating heroin currently accounts for about 97% of Tiba’s searches.
“She is fearless and I have not seen her balk at searching in any location including in heavy traffic, windy highway bridges over the Ohio River, or going up on the top of a car hauler,” said Lieutenant Conrad.
Tiba’s reward for a job well done is typically a tennis ball, but when she performs really well she receives TWO tennis balls! Tiba will then keep one tennis ball in her mouth while running around playing soccer with the other one.
Tiba’s handler, Lieutenant Amber Conrad, has been a police officer with the Highland Heights Police Department for 15 years and a K9 handler for 11 of them. Lieutenant Conrad has also handled a Belgian Malinois K9 and a German Shepherd K9. The Haverkamp Foundation stepped in when Lieutenant Conrad’s German Shepherd partner of 9 years passed away from lymphoma. The need for a narcotics K9 was high a the time, but the department did not have the funds immediately available to purchase another K9.
“Nancy and Bruce Haverkamp were very quick to act and generous with their contribution. We became the first agency in Kentucky to receive a donation from the Foundation,” shared Lieutenant Conrad. The name Tiba was chosen by Lieutenant Conrad in honor of Matt Haverkamp’s K9, Tibo, that he had while he served with the Golf Manor Police Department.
Tiba is very popular with the public and at community events because she is very approachable and friendly. Tiba and Lieutenant Conrad will perform demonstrations for any school or community group that requests them…and Tiba is always a big hit with kids. Having Tiba has made a big impact on the Highland Heights community because she is good at her job of locating narcotics while simultaneously being a gateway for the police to be more approachable in the public’s eye.