After more than eight years of service with the Statesboro Police Department, K9 Rio retired on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. Rio worked alongside Corporal Kyle Briley while with the department and was deployed 3,146 times. During his service, he assisted in 832 arrests.

In addition, he provided more than one hundred K9 demonstrations and met thousands of citizens. Corporal Briley indicated that throughout his tenure, K9 Rio was a good boy.

Briley joined the Statesboro PD in 2008, and Rio was assigned to him in 2014. Briley was chosen as the Statesboro PD Impact/K9 Unit Corporal in 2019 and began supervising the K9 program at that time.

“I am very thankful to have had him as a partner for this long,” Briley said in a Facebook post dedicated to Rio. “Every handler knows this day will eventually come, and I’m grateful for the many years we worked together.”

At the end of his final shift, dispatch made a call-out signaling the end of Rio’s service:

“K9 Rio, we thank you for your more than eight years of distinguished service to the Statesboro Police Department and to your handler, Corporal Briley. We appreciate you ensuring his safety each and every shift. You can now take your well deserved rest. K9 Rio is 10-42 and cleared for retirement.”

In police code, “10-42” indicates an officer’s end of duty.

Following his official sign-off, Rio enjoyed a pup cup at Bruster’s Real Ice Cream.

“He would still love to come to work every day, and it will be tough to not have him there,” Briley said of Rio’s retirement. “But his age is catching up, and it’s in his best interest.”

In a statement, the Statesboro Police Department said, “Corporal Briley has done an exceptional job working with Rio, and we know he will continue to take great care of him.”

K9 Rio
K9 Rio with his retirement plaque Credit: SPD

Remaining K9 teams in the department are Advanced Patrol Officer Patrick Webb with K9 Smokey and Officer Brice Scott with K9 Mono. Corporal Briley will receive a new K9 partner later this summer.

In addition to his law enforcement service, Briley founded the Georgia K9 Retirement Foundation in 2016, a non-profit organization which later expanded to become the Georgia Police K9 Foundation in 2018.

With a team of volunteers made up of K9 handlers, law enforcement officers, and citizen supporters, the foundation works to protect and serve both active and retired law enforcement K9s throughout the state. They focus on educating departments and handlers and supporting their K9s by providing equipment, training, and care.

Tracy Mallary of Statesboro Properties is a longtime volunteer and board member for the foundation. It was through a fundraiser for the organization that she first met Corporal Briley and Rio.

“K9 Rio has been the face of the foundation and has brought awareness to the importance of K9 officers in the state of Georgia,” Mallary said. “He was the reason I became involved with the foundation.”

Mallary added that through the organization, she has learned that while the Statesboro PD takes excellent care of its K9 officers, there are other departments in the state that are under-funded.

“These K9s are officers with badge numbers and deserve to have all the equipment and proper training like their human counterparts do,” Mallary said.

Both Mallary and Briley said they have learned a lot about K9 officers through K9 Rio and his service, but they agree that his retirement is right on time.

“Rio’s retirement is well-deserved,” Mallary said. “But his last call did bring tears to my eyes.”

“He has given a lot to the community we serve,” Briley added. “He has earned the time to now relax and enjoy retirement.”

Rio is now ten years old and will spend his remaining years enjoying his time at home with Corporal Briley.

Thank you, K9 Rio, for your service!

The Georgia Police K9 Foundation holds a fundraiser each year called “An Evening for the K9’s”, and the 2022 event will take place on June 4. Grice Connect is a proud sponsor of the event and will provide more information on this year’s event in a forthcoming article.

Whitney Lavoie

Whitney Turner Lavoie is a Statesboro native and freelance writer/editor. She is an active volunteer with her children’s school PTO and Girl Scouts of America. Whitney previously worked in health communications...