Meet Martin and Zulu- Our New K9 Officers

When Officer Martin completes a long shift patrolling the airport with his partner Officer Dan Pigage, he loves nothing more than to head to Dan’s house, let loose and explore the backyard.  That’s because Officer Martin is one of RDU’s two new K-9 officers now working to keep you safe as you travel. 

Our Police K-9 program is rebooting after a two year absence due to the retirement of the previous K-9 officers and changes in duties for their handlers.  Martin and our other new K-9, Zulu, are trained to detect explosive materials. You’ll see them responding to calls about unattended items and checking trash cans and other items throughout the terminals.

K-9 Life

Martin and Zulu are handled by Officer Pigage and Officer James Johnson who applied for the position from the department’s 27 full-time officers. Both K-9 teams seldom work together in order for there to be a K-9 on duty as much as possible.  After several months of intensive on-site training, Martin and Zulu are now on duty full-time.

Becoming a K-9 handler requires more than just training. The officers become the caretakers for both canines. When off-duty, the K-9s reside at the handlers’ homes. If they get sick, the (human) officer takes his K-9 partner to the vet and so forth.

One of the biggest questions from customers is: can the dogs can be petted? The answer is: sometimes. But always ask the (human) officer first. The K-9 teams also provide demonstrations for tour groups and assist other local agencies when needed.

RDU Police officers Dan Pigage and Martin.

RDU Police officers Dan Pigage and Martin.

Meet Officer Martin 

Age: 2 years

Gender: Male

Weight: 72 pounds

Handler: Dan Pigage

Breed: Dutch Shepherd

Language: Dutch

Expected Years of Service: 9-10

Trivia: Martin was named in honor of Martin Richard, an 8-year-old boy who tragically lost his life in the Boston Marathon bombings.

Officers James Johnson and Zulu

Officers James Johnson and Zulu

Meet Officer Zulu

Age: 2 years

Gender: Female

Weight: 58 pounds

Handler: James Johnson

Breed: Yellow Lab Mix

Language: English

Expected Years of Service: 8-10

Trivia: Zulu was named for Taxiway Zulu here at the airport.

Interesting Fact: She loves to have her belly scratched. (After asking her handler, of course.)

About Andrew Sawyer

Andrew Sawyer is the External Communication Specialist for the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority and is the main writer for RDU’s website, electronic communication and airport publications. He’s also the primary face behind RDU’s social media channels. Andrew also assists with many other things, from media relations to event planning. In fact, he has an advanced degree in "other duties as assigned."
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