LOGAN, UTAH (News4Utah) He’s been patrolling the streets and roads in Cache County for a couple of years – and now when he heads out – he has a partner – a K9 named OKAR (Oh-Car). Recently we caught up with this deputy and his dog to find out why he wanted to serve and protect and why he waited so long to actually do it. Here’s this weeks Behind the Badge report.
Meet Deputy Phil Johnson and his K9 partner Okar. “I always thought it would be one of the coolest things to have a partner on the beat. Now I have a partner watching my back all the time.” He says ‘now’ – because this partnership and friendship is still pretty new. The two just started working together in February, but they’ve already made an impact on Cache County crime. “I think it was his first night on patrol he found narcotics – the very first night. And then he found narcotics the next two nights.” “We found meth, marijuana and I believe heroin.”
It helps to have an energetic partner with an incredible sense of smell and trained in patrol and detection. And it’s not just Okar who is new to the force – Deputy Johnson has only been at it for a year and a half. ” I could have done a lot of things to make more money, but this is something that I feel is inside of me – something I have wanted to do since I was a kid.” In fact, he did do a lot of different things – like own a used car dealership before joining up. However, the 43-year-old says eight years ago – he finally followed his law enforcement dream. “Law enforcement – you don’t make a lot of money and so we had to make a lot of sacrifices. I worked a lot of jobs, but there was always something in me that wanted to be in law enforcement.” He started working with corrections in Davis County. Then corrections in Cache County. “The guys and gals who work at the jail are some of the most unheralded courageous people – they deal with some of the hardest things you ever can.” He enjoyed that work – but wanted to be out with the people in an area he has called home for more than two decades. “I live in one of the best places to be a cop.”
While he has to make arrests and uphold the law – Deputy Johnson tries not to be judgmental. “There’s a lot of good people who make mistakes – I’ve made mistakes – we’ve all made mistakes. But, we’re all just human – every one of us.” And as for being a deputy – he says it’s the best job ever. “I love the brotherhood. All these deputies I work with – I truly believe they have my back. “
Okar is one of two K9 officers with the Cache County Sheriff’s Department. Deputy Johnson and Okar cover 11-hundred square miles. Deputy Johnson says while growing up he always thought he wanted to be a cowboy or a cop. He’s kind of both. But instead of a horse – he has a K9.