FAIRFIELD, Conn. — Members of the Fairfield Police Department said a sad goodbye as they retired their beloved police canine officer Wednesday night.
The force's German shepherd, Ruger, was retired due to an injury. But Police Chief Gary MacNamara said the injury won’t prevent Ruger from enjoying the years ahead.
“It’s sad his career ended too early,” MacNamara told the Daily Voice. “But we’re happy he’s able to live a long life.”
A descendant of working dogs, Ruger joined the Fairfield force in 2011. He "was selected due to his temperament, high drive and determination to please," according to police.
Ruger wasn’t simply a pet for the department, McNamara said.
“We can’t lose sight of the fact that Ruger is more than a dog,” McNamara said, adding that he joined the ranks as a dog but left as a valued member of the force.
His handler is Officer Wells, according to the Fairfield Police’s K-9 website.
Ruger was trained from an early age in obedience and tracking. He is certified in Schutzhund Level I, according to police.
Ruger attended a nine-week training program at Renbar Kennels with Wells, where they attained several certifications.
Fairfield Police said it uses its K-9 unit to search buildings; track missing persons, suspects or evidence; apprehend criminal suspects; and control unruly crowds.
While the canine does not replace an officer, "It is often the determining factor in conducting a search or achieving a peaceful arrest," according to the Fairfield Police K-9 division website.
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