HUNTERSVILLE NC: Yesterday (September 30, 2019), First Bank held a retirement party for retiring K9 Officer Leia of the Huntersville Police Department. Mayor John Anarella and Huntersville Town Commissioners, Joe Sailors, Dan Boone, and Nick Walsh were among the many attendees who were there to honor K9 Officer Leia and recognize the tremendous job the Huntersville K9 officers and their partner police officers perform.


K9 Officer Leia’ career

K9 Officer Leia


K9 Officer Leia has been a dual-purpose patrol dog for five years specializing in tracking & apprehension and narcotics detection. She is a smaller, leaner, breed of German Shepard from Czechoslovakia. She is approximately 7 years old and full of energy. Her partner, Officer Matthew Urps, has been in law enforcement for 16 years, serving 11 years with the Huntersville Police Department. He describes Leia’s fitness like an Olympic athlete.



“She’s a lot more energetic than most retirees.”
                —Huntersville Mayor John Anarella




K9 Officer Leia and Officer Matthew Urps.


Five years is the typical contract for both police officer and K9. K9 Officer Leia’s last day was August 9, 2019. She retired to live with her partner Matt and his wife Heather who has 3 other dogs at home. Matt laughs about turning on his home camera to check on his family of dogs and seeing 3 of them sleeping and Leia energetically jumping from love seat to couch and back again.



Will Officer Urps work with another K9?

Although Officer Urps looks quite fit himself, when asked if he will work with another K9, he replied, “I’m getting a little long in the tooth to be chasing dogs.”




K9 Vader will be retiring soon

Town Commissioner Dan Boone is the liaison between the Town and the Police Department. He said K9 Officer Vader will be retiring soon, leaving the Town with only one dual-purpose K9 patrol dog, Sarah.


From left to right: Officer Jernigan, Officer Johnston, Officer Urps & K9 Officer Leia, and Officer Johnson.



“I’m a big supporter of the police department. K9s are vital to the Town.”
                 —Huntersville Town Commissioner Dan Boone



K9 Officer Leia, Officer Matt Urps, and the First Bank staff.

Congratulations from First Bank

“We’re excited to be able to support the town and the police. We are happy to celebrate Leia’s retirement.”
                —Bethan Welch, Branch Manager, First Bank


A selection of photos from the event