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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Tonight, we salute Nicholas Arnold, a U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army veteran who also served as a sergeant in the Caseyville Police Department before becoming a K9 officer in Granite City, Illinois.

Nicholas is currently working with the Department of Defense at Jefferson Barracks to recruit and train a new team of civilian officers.

This man was born to serve. He joined the U.S. Air Force at 19 years old, spending about 6 years including a deployment for Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Following his time in the Air Force, he went into the Army Reserves while serving as a police officer in Caseyville, Illinois, where he was promoted to sergeant. He then continued his career in police work at the Granite City Police Department, where he onboarded and trained their first-ever K9 officer, a dog named Waldo. Nicholas and his family, including his wife and four kids, loved Waldo who joined them on vacations, lived with them in their home. 

Nicholas says he and Waldo had to learn together how to do their jobs simultaneously. They trained together, worked together, and learned each other’s personalities to serve the community. 

“It was the most rewarding assignment I’ve ever had in law enforcement,” he said.

But when a new career opportunity came, Officer Arnold had to say goodbye to his K9 partner. He now works for the Department of Defense. 

“I’m currently working with the department of the Air Force establishing and creating the first all-civilian police department,” he said.

After working the streets, special assignments, undercover detective work, narcotics, Nicholas is looking forward to his new opportunity. He says he’s never been a part of the administrative side of police and military work, so the challenge is rewarding. 

Nicholas says his career would not have been possible without the support of his wife and family. It was his wife who nominated him. 

“We have a house full of kids,” she said. “We have four kids that keep us on our toes.”

Nicholas says he wouldn’t change a thing about his time serving our country in the military or as an officer working the streets.

“The friendship is there, the camaraderie; you build a certain bond that’s hard to be rivaled,” he said.

David Shulman, director of marketing for Brown & Brown Law Firm, who presented Nicholas with his $500 award, said, “We just thank him for everything he’s done and everything he’s still doing.”

If you would like to nominate a local first responder, military, or veteran for our Proud to Serve Award, click here.