First K-9 handler in Washington County dies after long career in law enforcement

BARTLESVILLE, Okla. — After about 50 years in law enforcement, as a police officer, a bomb technician, investigator, K-9 handler and an undersheriff, it is safe to say people in Bartlesville know the name Dennis Nix.

“Dennis was a great man, mentor, investigator, and brother,” said Sheriff Scott Owen. “He had a quit wit and a knack for solving cases and he had a great sense of humor.”

Nix passed away May 22, 2022 but his long-time legacy in law enforcement is in no way forgotten.

Nix started his career with the Bartlesville Police Department in 1968 serving as an officer for five years and as a detective with the Criminal Investigations Division for 15 years, according to the City of Bartlesville.

He was one of the first certified bomb technicians in the state, and the first K-9 handler in Washington County. The City says his work with the area’s first K-9, “Stray,” helped set the pace for those who would come after.

Following his retirement with BPD, he served with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office as an investigator and, later in his career, as undersheriff.

“Today we are mourning the loss of one of the finest peace officers our community has ever had,” said City Manager Mike Bailey. “Dennis was truly one of a kind. He will be missed.”

Services for Nix will be held at Bartlesville First Baptist Church at 2:00 p.m. Friday, May 27. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Bartlesville Police Department will provide Honor Guard services. The service will be live-streamed on the church’s Facebook page.