Tuesday, June 5, 2012
EGG HARBOR TWP. -- There was a lot of barking and celebrating Monday at Atlantic City International Airport.
He was the leader of the pack in 2006, when he went into service as Atlantic City International Airport's first full time K–9.
His name is Ike and he was the airports dedicated K–9 for five years until 2011.
Now that he is retired, he is being honored for all that he has done to protect us.
"It's just really nice to have these animals recognized," said his handler Sgt. Paul Whittaker.
Sgt. Paul Whittaker has been Ike's handler for 10-years and says he has a personality of his own and had become a fixture at the airport.
"A lot of times they die in the line of duty or they pass away quietly. And he has meant a lot to a lot of people," Whittaker added.
Many of those people came out to a ceremony Monday afternoon, where Ike and his handler were presented a plaque that will proudly hang in the airport's passenger terminal.
Sgt. Whittaker says he is honored by the plaque, and adds that a lot of hard work went into earning it.
"Its not just a nine to five job. You are taking care these dogs 24/7," Whittaker explained.
Ike is crossed trained as a patrol and an explosive detection dog and was responsible for not just passengers in the terminal, but also the inspection of all commercial vehicles coming into ACY.
"A one man show and he did a very critical job for the TSA and the airport," said one airport official.
Ike's handler says while he is now enjoying his well earned retirement, he still has a part–time job.
"He is just guarding my house right now. So he is living comfortably," Whittaker joked.
ACY now has four full time K–9's working at the airport.