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Fairfield Police Welcome New K-9 Unit

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — The Fairfield Police Department added just one new officer to its staff Monday, but put four more feet on the ground in the process. Interim First Selectman Michael Tetreau swore in Ruger, Fairfield’s new police dog , along with his handler, K-9 Officer Kevin Wells.

“[Ruger] is very eager to work,” Wells said. “He wants to get out there. It’s pretty much play to him.”

Ruger is a 16-month-old dark sable-colored German shepherd. He arrived in Fairfield in July, and lives with Wells when off-duty. The two still have training left to complete through October, but Ruger received his badge Monday to kick off the reinstatement of the department's K-9 unit.

Once he finishes training, Ruger will help police find missing people, search for narcotics, track fleeing suspects and greet members of the public at special events. Previously, the Fairfield Police had to call nearby towns such as Westport and Norwalk when they  needed a dog’s help, which in some cases led to waits lasting hours.

“Having a K-9 unit within the police department certainly makes us a stronger police department,” said Police Chief Gary MacNamera.

About three past and current officers, town officials and donors who raised money to purchase Ruger watched Wells take the oath on behalf of his new partner. One of the onlookers was retired Sgt. Bill Krafick, who handled one of Fairfield’s past dogs, Zack, in  the late 1980s. Before the ceremony, Krafick shared stories about Zack helping to apprehend criminals.

He recalled one incident where a pair of thieves dropped in through the ceiling of a Commerce Drive car dealership in a burglary attempt. Zack sniffed out the pair hiding in the trunk of one of the showroom’s vehicles. In another case, Zack discovered a home burglary suspect who attempted to hide from police in a pile of freshly raked leaves.

The Fairfield police were able to add Ruger to their ranks without any extra cost to Fairfield’s taxpayers. Private donors, from large corporations like General Electric , People’s United Bank and Sturm, Ruger and Company to young children who turned over money from their lemonade stands, paid for Ruger’s purchase and training and will cover Wells’ care stipend for the next few years.

“Corporate support is welcome, and significant,” MacNamera said. “But when individual residents in our communities say, ‘I support that program so much that I’m going to donate some financial assistance,’ it’s just huge for us.”

What do you think about the Fairfield Police Department adding a K-9 unit? Share your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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