As one dog sets out on a new journey of retirement from the Jacksonville Police Department, another K-9 officer is ready to embark on a new adventure to help out his human officers.

On Friday, Jacksonville police celebrated the retirement of Capt. Steven Markasky’s K-9 partner Niko, while also welcoming a new K-9 team, police officer Michael Torres and his K-9 partner Rambo.

The new addition of Rambo was made possible through a donation from, a nonprofit based out of Richmond that raises funds for police K-9s, handler training and the equipment for a K-9 to perform its duties correctly, according to the organization’s website.

The K-9 Officers organization was founded by Rocky and Shannon Smith, and it provides support for both the handler and K-9 throughout the K-9’s entire life.

The Smiths visited the police department on Friday to see the transition of K-9s.

Markasky has been with the Jacksonville police since 2012. He and K-9 Niko have been ranked in national competitions.

Through Markasky’s career, he was promoted to the ranks of corporal and sergeant and has been assigned as a field training officer, special weapons and tactics team leader, canine handler, certified Texas Commission on Law Enforcement instructor and marine safety enforcement officer, according to the police department website.


I came to the Tyler Morning Telegraph in September 2019. I report on crime, courts, breaking news and various events in Tyler and East Texas.

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