Aco with handler Kenneth Rushing (left) and Sheriff Bill Brown.
Courtesy Photo

There was no gold timepiece for Aco when he retired recently. But there was a tasty rawhide bone, plus a big round of applause from his human companions at the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. Clocking six years of dogfighting crime and helping save lives, K9 Aco has more than 200 suspect finds, “give-ups,” and physical apprehensions under his collar, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Just doing his job, he also sniffed out thousands of pounds of narcotics and was trained in patrol, tracking, and how to help out on SWAT calls. In 2015, the FLIR Fang Award had his name all over it after he tracked down a drive-by shooting suspect in Lompoc. Atta boy! “We were constantly training, and all of that hard work paid off,” said Aco’s partner, Sr. Deputy Kenneth Rushing, who has 13 years’ experience as a handler. “Aco’s desire and his drive was channeled into what our objective was. He wanted to catch the bad guy even more than I did.” Aco will remain in Rushing’s care, at home.

Award-Winning Sheriff’s K9, Aco, as a puppy.
Courtesy Photo

Born in Germany in 2010, Aco Vom Brachtpetal was trained at the Inglis Police Dog Academy in Ventura County. He landed in Santa Barbara in February 2010, gifted to the Sheriff’s Office by a private donor. According to the Sheriff’s Office, its K9 unit is supported in part by Project Deputy Dog, a fundraising effort launched by the office’s Benevolent Posse. For more information, visit

Aco, training with his handler.
Courtesy Photo


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