COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Police officers’ retirements are always emotional, and the one planned for a Marion officer will be extra special.

A 9-year veteran of the Marion Police Department — who only speaks on command — is calling it quits on the instruction of his boss.

“Six, you excited to retire?” Lt. Mark Elliott asked his partner sitting in their patrol car. “Aboie!” he commands in French, and Six replies with a bark.

Six, a Dutch Shepherd K-9 officer in Marion, was brought into the police department following a series of layoffs that removed more than a dozen officers from the force in 2012.

The namesake of the dual purpose narcotics K-9 comes from former Marion County Sheriff’s deputy Brandy Winfield, who was shot and killed on duty in 2004, leaving behind a wife and two sons.

“That’s how he got his name, Six,” Elliott said. “Brandy Winfield’s unit number was 5106.”

A donation from Brandy Winfield’s Memorial Run, an annual event to honor the late officer, and the American Legion made it possible to bring Six — whose name is police slang for ‘got your back’ — onto the force.

“Watching my six, covering my six. Because we were very shorthanded at the time, I know buddy,” Elliott said as Six licked his neck. “And that’s kinda how he got his name.”

During Six’ nine-year tenure at the Marion Police Department, the K-9 was assigned to more than 1,000 deployments where he tracked murder suspects, removed guns from the streets, and assisted in the largest drug money seizure in Marion County history.

“He can do tracking, whether that’s a bad guy, a lost kid, he’s actually tracked someone with Alzheimer’s before and found ’em,” Elliott said.

As Six’ 11th birthday approaches next month, Elliott said he hopes he made the right call in allowing the K-9 to retire.

“I just hope it’s time to give him a couple years with the family and let him be a dog,” Elliott said.

The longest-serving K-9 at the Marion police department, who sleeps at the foot of Elliott’s bed every night, was just promoted in April to Lt. Six.

“I’ve gotten to do some pretty neat stuff, but I’d give it all up to keep working with him,” Elliott said. “10-7, Six. Pose. Lay down. Good boy.

“Ahh..” as Six licks Elliott’s neck again. “He’s just a good dog.”