NORTH VERNON — North Vernon Police Department K9 Heros, described by his handler as a police dog who doesn’t have an off switch, retired from the department Tuesday.

On his last day working with K9 handler and Sgt. Andrew Richmond, Heros did a check on two separate cars stopped by police and alerted to drugs in both.

North Vernon police arrested four people Tuesday on drug-related charges involving methamphetamine, marijuana and paraphernalia after Heros’ check of the vehicles, Richmond said.

Heros, an 8 1/2-year-old German Shepherd, still has a few years of police work in him, Richmond believes, but his age and a previous back injury were catching up with to the dog, he said.

Richmond has been working with Heros since April 2011. During his time with the department, Richmond estimates the dog made about 168 street-finds of drugs, and half or more of those involved more than one person being arrested as a result of the search.

He estimated as many as 300 individuals were arrested after Heros was at the scene as part of a search.

Now, the dog will live with the Richmond family, continuing with a little light-duty work occasionally, but limiting work to mostly just exercise, Richmond said.

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Republic.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.