A valuable member of the Scarborough Police Department has retired after an illustrious career – and his replacement has big paws to fill.

Tucker, a 10-year-old black Lab, was the department’s K-9 from 2016 until he retired in March. He has been succeeded by another black Lab well known to him, Cooper, who has “a really strong drive.”

In his eight years on the force, Tucker responded to nearly 350 deployments, both for the department and other agencies in need of a good nose.

In addition to their role at the Scarborough department, Tucker and his handler, Sgt. Andrew Flynn, worked with the DEA for 4½ years.

Cooper replaces longtime Scarborough Police Department K9 Tucker. Contributed / Scarborough Police Department

“We were able to use him for a lot of higher-level drug investigations, which was a huge asset for the federal DEA,” said Flynn, who has been with the department for over 25 years.

Tucker is responsible for the seizure of 750 grams of fentanyl, 2 kilos of methamphetamine, over 2 kilos of cocaine, 200 grams of crack cocaine and 850 grams of MDMA. He has also successfully tracked 15 people – both missing people and criminals.


K-9 teams provide the department “the capability to search for missing or endangered persons, suspects who have fled a crime scene or traffic stop, searching for articles of evidence and narcotics detection,” Police Chief Mark Holmquist said in an email to the Leader.

Tucker’s first successful track was for a person having a mental health crisis. The duo located the person in the woods, Flynn said Tuesday.

“We were able to locate that person and get them over to the hospital to get them the help that they needed,” Flynn said.

Tucker, retired from Scarborough Police, is now spending his days at home with Sgt. Andrew Flynn and family, home also to his K9 successor on the force, Cooper. Contributed / Scarborough Police Department

Their most memorable drug search came while assisting U.S. Customs and Border Protection, he said.

Tucker and Flynn were called to the scene of a suspicious shipping container tied to someone with a history of drug trafficking.

“Tucker ended up alerting us to a van that was inside the shipping container,” Flynn said. “We ended up finding a kilogram of cocaine. That was an exciting win for us … they definitely would not have found that had it not been for the dog.”


Tucker was always with Flynn, whether it was patrolling Scarborough, responding to calls or at home with his family. Flynn said his wife missed having Tucker around when he was at work.

“She had fallen in love with Tucker, but was disappointed that I always brought him to work with me,” Flynn said.

So, they got another black Lab, Cooper – who wound up taking Tucker’s place in the department in March.

Flynn was training Cooper in basic obedience when he realized there was something special in him.

“I noticed he had a really strong drive, so I tapped into that a little to see what he was capable of,” Flynn said. “We did scent work for drugs and then I started doing some tracking training with him and he picked up on it extremely fast.”

In retirement, Tucker will continue to live with the Flynn family, so the two dogs basically traded roles.


Flynn said there’s often a lag between a dog retiring and another taking their place. Training and certifying a K-9 can take six to nine months, he said, but Cooper was ready to join the department the day after Tucker retired.

Beyond their police work, Tucker and Cooper play an important role in the community.

“They’re strictly used for their nose,” Flynn said, but “the benefit to that is I can also use them in community policing events.”

Since they aren’t trained to use force, like apprehending a suspect, Tucker and Cooper take part in K-9 demonstrations at schools and various public safety events.

“One of the important aspects of a K-9 team is how they interact with the public at community events,” Holmquist said. “Our retired K-9 Tucker was always a fan favorite at these events due to his friendly temperament and calm demeanor around people.”

Their calm demeanor allows Tucker and Cooper to take on the role of a support dog, Flynn said.

“If I go to a serious car crash with kids involved, for instance, a lot of times pulling out the dog and letting kids see and pat the dog instantly changes the traumatic side of that call,” he said. “It brings some peace to it.”

Comments are not available on this story.