Modesto police K-9 Stryker, instrumental in tracking down drugs, suspects, dies

Stryker in 2010.
Stryker in 2010.

Stryker, a member of the Modesto Police Department’s K-9 unit who was responsible for hundreds of arrests and the discovery of several pounds of drugs, died on Sunday.

The 11-year-old German shepherd, who retired in August 2016, suffered a “medical emergency” and died later at a veterinarian’s office.

Born in the Czech Republic, Stryker partnered with officer Mark Ulrich for nearly nine years. He was trained to track, search and locate discarded items and protect his handler. He also was certified to find five types of illegal narcotics.

During one case a few years ago, Stryker alerted to what turned out to be 26 pounds of uncut heroin in a vehicle on Highway 99 near Keyes. After processing, there heroin would have yielded an estimated $2.3 million in sales.

Six years ago, he tracked down a burglary suspect who had stabbed a security guard in the hand with a screwdriver.

According to a story in The Bee: “The officers created a perimeter around the area. Officer Mark Ulrich and his police dog ‘Stryker’ found Hobbs hiding. Applegate said Hobbs tried to run again, but was apprehended by Stryker, who bit Hobbs’ arm.”

In 2010, Stryker and Ulrich comprised one of two K-9 teams that won the prestigious “Top Team” award by the Western States Police Canine Association.

Currently, Modesto police have four working dogs, according to spokeswoman Heather Graves.