After a generous gift from a community member to fund the program, former Chief Maris Herold and City Manager Nuria Riviera-Vandermyde approved the creation of this new team, which will help sniff out evidence during investigations. The new dog--named Astro--is a female Lab and shorthaired Pointer mix. She’s about 1 and a half years old and comes from Washington state. She will be an explosives detection dog. She is not an apprehension dog.
“We all know Boulder is dog friendly city and I’m sure the community will welcome her like we have. This K9 team will be a great asset to the city and help us in keeping the public safe,” former Chief Herold said. “Our new dog was made possible by the generosity of the community and their support for all of the great work our officers do every day.”
Boulder Police has not had a police K9 in more than 20 years and this new team will fill an important need when it comes to calls regarding firearms, explosives and other gun-related crimes. They will also be at numerous police-related community engagement events.
K9 Astro's name was chosen with a special meaning in mind. Fallen Officer Eric Talley’s favorite sports team was the Houston Astros and everyone thought this name was a fitting tribute to a great man. It also reminds others of the celestial stars and heavens, reminiscent of Officer Talley’s strong faith.
She was sworn in by Deputy Chief Steve Redfearn during a department oath of office ceremony on June 21, 2023.
Officer Caitlyn Donahue was selected as her new handler and the pair has begun several weeks of training together. Officer Donahue started her policing career in 2015 as a police officer in Connecticut. The department there shaped her interest in being a K9 officer with their robust police K9 program. Officer Donahue moved out to Colorado to be closer to family and started working for Boulder Police in January 2018. She started in Patrol before joining the Department's Training Team where she assisted with Driving and Firearms training as well as recruiting and hiring.
"Astro and I have been training for the last two weeks and already it’s incredible to see her progress," Officer Donahue said. "She’s a very smart dog! I’m very excited for this opportunity and can’t wait to see how Astro grows and helps our community!"