Dynamic Duos

Nine pairs of people who, through their unique partnerships—some romantic, some not—make Denver a more interesting, entertaining and welcoming place to live.

February 2014

Partners Against Crime
Brett Titus of Metro SWAT/K-9 Unit and his partner, Vis, have worked together for nearly three years, apprehending dozens of suspects. Titus’ first book, about his first K-9 partner, Oscar, comes out this spring.

“I helped train dogs in the Air Force. When I got out of the military, I started to do competitions that consisted of tracking, protection, and obedience. Once I got on SWAT in 1999, I knew I wanted to be on the K-9 unit. My dog, Vis, is assigned to the SWAT team to search out bad guys. Behind doors. Hiding in dumpsters. These dogs can use their noses up to 500 times better than we can and smell odors a block away. So when we go look for bad guys, he’s the tip of the spear. A lot of people think we want an aggressive dog. We don’t. We want a Mother Nature–given drive we can use in training. We’ve made the training a game: Go find the bad guy and bite him until I tell you to let go. But there’s nothing malicious. It’s a game to him. Most of the time Vis is just a happy-go-lucky pup. When he’s at home, he’s just a pet. Despite his training, he’ll still get in the trash. But once I put the uniform on, he transforms. He’s very protective of me. If you were to come to my house, he’d love on you like any other pet. But when we come to the office, it’s different because he’s ready to work. During operations, I sometimes have to send him in to find people that could have guns—that’s what we call ‘the K-9 burden.’ If I send my dog in and he gets killed, it’s a bad day for me, for the other SWAT guys. These dogs are with us 24/7; they’re family. But a dog can be replaced. What can’t be replaced is the guys. It’s tough, but he’s still just a dog. That’s a hard thing to say, but that’s reality. And Vis never gets scared. Even yesterday, when he located a homicide suspect and hit him. The guy reached around and held Vis up, and Vis’ tail was still wagging. He was like, Woo-hoo, it’s going to be a fight!