K9 Dunkan - bringing home to campus


New on the bustling University of Akron (UA) campus, there is a unique presence that brings smiles to faces and a sense of security to all who encounter him. It’s Dunkan, the beloved two-year-old UA Police Department canine who has become an integral part of campus life.

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Dunkan’s journey began when Tre Richardson ‘20, a former UA football player with a degree in criminology, joined the University’s police force in 2022. Handpicked from a pool of six officers, Richardson became Dunkan’s handler in early 2023, forging a tight bond between the two.

When Dunkan isn’t patrolling the campus alongside Richardson, he resides in a special indoor kennel at the Richardson home. But it’s on campus where Dunkan truly shines, spreading joy and goodwill wherever he goes.

“Being away from home can be stressful for students. Seeing their faces light up when they see Dunkan makes my day and makes his day,” Richardson shared, reflecting on the positive impact Dunkan has on the University community.

Indeed, Dunkan’s presence goes beyond basic security. He exudes positivity, bringing people together and fostering a sense of camaraderie among students, faculty and staff alike.

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One memorable moment for Richardson was taking Dunkan to a football game between UA and Kent State. As they entered the student section, students began to chant Dunkan’s name, a testament to his popularity and the bond he shares with the campus community.

But Dunkan is more than just a friendly face; he is a highly trained working dog with a vital role in campus security. Funded by the Department of Homeland Security and trained to focus on explosives detection and tracking, he plays a crucial role in preventative sweeps at sporting events and investigating potential threats in the community.

Despite his serious training and the work, he does with explosives, Dunkan’s approachability is evident to all who encounter him. People are drawn to him, allowing Richardson to more easily communicate with students. For Richardson, being Dunkan’s handler is more than just a job — it’s a calling rooted in his passion for community and campus policing. He envisions a future where Dunkan’s talents are showcased on a broader stage, perhaps even competing in the Ohio Police and Fire Games.

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As Dunkan continues to patrol the halls and pathways of The University of Akron, his presence serves as a reminder of then unwavering commitment to safety and community that define the University. 

Story by Cristine Boyd