Ready to retire

Fruita’s Officer Anno on force for 8 years

Ten-year-old Anno is retiring from police work as his partner Fruita Canine officer Mitch Caldwell looks on. The dog has been with the Cladwell and the Fruita Police department since he was 18-months-old.


He’s only been on the force eight years, but in that time he’s acquired the respect and admiration of everyone in the Fruita Police Department. Tonight, he retires.

Anno, a 10-year-old German shepherd, is the department’s senior canine officer. He’s been involved in several major busts and has been one of the department’s shining stars. And although tonight is his official retirement from crime fighting — he made his last bust June 27 — Anno will continue to be an integral part of the department’s interaction with the public.

“Kind of sad,” said Anno’s partner, Sgt. Mitch Caldwell. He contends Anno knows he’s being retired.

“You can just tell by his attitude,” Caldwell said. “He doesn’t want to get off the couch.”

Anno will be off the couch and down at Fruita City Hall at 7 tonight for a special retirement ceremony.

“I don’t know what the chief (Mark Angelo) has planned. I think he is going to get a gold collar,” Caldwell said.

Anno started with the department in 2002.

Caldwell bought the $2,000 dog himself and the Fruita Thrift Shop purchased a used Grand Junction Police Department patrol car to start the canine program.

At the start of every shift, Anno shuns the stereotypical coffee and doughnuts.

“He goes right to the animal control officer because he carries Milk Bones in his pocket,” Caldwell said. “A couple Milk Bones from animal control and then he comes to visit with the patrol guys.”

On the streets the 72-pound Anno has made a reputation for himself.

On separate occasions Anno has uncovered 50 pounds of pot, two pounds of methamphetamine and $75,000 in cash that was stashed close to illegal narcotics.

Anno only has to grunt and they want to surrender.

“It is kind of a deep moaning, rumbling scream,” Caldwell said. “As soon as he does that, they give up.”

Anno, with his floppy ears and smallish stature, is nicer than his bark might indicate, however.

Caldwell said he would bring Anno along when visiting his mother in a Colorado Springs hospice.

“The second day he was there the nurse said they were glad I brought my therapy dog to the hospice,” Caldwell said. “And then I told them that he wasn’t a therapy dog.”

While his mother slept, Anno took it upon himself to go visit the other patients.

“He’d wander around and get up on the beds with the other patients and just hang out,” he said.

Anno is so good with people he will continue to ride with his partner, come to work for public relations events and do demonstrations. The rest of the time it’s a good bet he’ll be on the couch, chillin’ at home.

“He’ll sit and stare at you and moan until you move off his spot on the couch ...
everybody moves,” Caldwell said. “That is his spot.”


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