Garfield Heights welcomes two new K-9 officers

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio - The Garfield Heights Police Department added two new members and eight new paws to its force.

At a ceremony Monday evening, Arlo and Rosco were sworn in at the council chambers of the Civic Center. Audience members "awwww-ed' in unison as both dogs took the oath with their paws on a Bible and signed their papers with an ink-covered paw print.

With city budgets tight, donations from the community and businesses raised more than enough for two dogs and perhaps a third.

"They're effective and they do the job," said Mayor Vic Collova.

Arlo and Rosco are the fourth and fifth K-9 officers in the city's history.

"They can do building searches and they can do them faster and more effectively than officers can, and it keeps the officers' risk to a minimum," Police Chief Robert Sackett.

Aside for their usefulness as crime fighters, there's the warm and fuzzy side of the dogs.

"People love the dog, by far our most popular officer is the K-9 officer," Sackett, in his second year as chief, said.

To purchase and train the German Shepards cost $14,000 a piece. Most of the funds came from local Garfield Heights businesses Chart Industries, Marymount Hospital and Jennings Center, as well as Marc's and local ward clubs.

Patrolman Pat Hace will be the handler for Rosco. Officer Dale Merchant will be partnered with Arlo.

Merchant was the handler for the city's former K-9 officer, Major. Major died from cancer a month ago shortly after being retired from service.

The loss of Major was a blow to the Merchant family as the K-9 partner lives at the home of the officer. 

The swearing in ceremony for the two dogs was also to be a time for Major to be honored, with his death, the Merchant family was given keepsakes to commemorate Major and their loss.

"Major did a tremendous job," Sackett said.

On the force since 2003, Major was involved in hundreds of calls and had 83 apprehensions to his credit.

"We believe both of the new dogs are going to live up to reputation that was established by the previous three," Sackett said.

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