K-9 Unit

The Tahlequah Police Department started its K-9 Unit in 2005 when Duke and Tedy, K-9-1 and K-9-2 joined the force. Detectives Todd Carnes and Elden Graves served as handlers for the Duke and Tedy and worked tirelessly in the schools and community. Dog-paw-printThrough contracts with local schools, the K9 Units participate in educational programs, security for special events, and safety checks. Major, K-9-3 was added in 2008 and Bo, K-9-4 was added in 2012.

The two current K-9 units are Josh Girdner and partner Burro and Bryan Qualls and partner Ivo. Both dogs were purchased at Littlerock K-9 Academy and are Belgian Malinois. Both duos work in area schools, providing narcotics detection, educational programs and security for special events.

Current Handlers and K-9s

Officer Josh Girdner and K9 Burro(JPG)


Detective Josh Girdner has been in law enforcement for 8 years. He started his career as a reserve for the Tahlequah Police Department when he was 21 years old. He was later hired as a deputy with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and worked for them for one year prior to being hired as a full-time Patrolman for the Tahlequah Police Department in 2014. In 2016 he was promoted to a K-9 position and in March of 2017, Josh went to Little Rock K-9 and chose his new partner, Burro. Burro is a Belgian Malinois and is a dual purpose canine trained in tracking, criminal apprehension, and narcotic detection.



Lt. Bryan Qualls has been in law enforcement for 12 years. He started his career as a Ranger at Sequoyah State Park in 2006. In 2012, he was hired as a deputy with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and worked for them part-time until June of 2016, when he was hired as a Patrolman at Tahlequah Police Department.  In July of 2017, Bryan Qualls was promoted to a K-9 position. He went to Little Rock K-9 and chose his new partner, Ivo. Ivo is a Belgian Malinois and is a dual purpose canine trained in tracking, criminal apprehension, and narcotic detection.

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