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Monday, March 19, 2012

A Dog Day Afternoon at Westport Police Headquarters

 A Dog Day Afternoon 
at Westport Police Headquarters
By Mike Lauterborn
(for Westport News)

Westport, CT – Every dog has its day. For Lola the Police Dog, Wednesday was her last as a patrol canine for the Westport Police Department.

In a retirement ceremony conducted mid-afternoon in a second-floor conference room at police headquarters on Jesup Road, Lola, a black German Shepherd, was honored with a commendation presented by First Selectman Gordon Joseloff along with words of tribute from Westport Police Chief Dale Call and her handler Officer Marc Heinmiller.

Lola, who is 12, had served the force for over 10 years as a patrol dog. She was trained in narcotics detection, building searches, tracking, handler protection and apprehension. “She has medical issues,” said Officer Ryan Paulsson, as to the reason for her being retired. “It’s her time. Ten years is a long career for a police dog.”

Lola has been in the care of Heinmiller for the past five years and will continue to live with him as a family dog. “She’s got a lot of energy and high drive,” he said. “She’s been a great police dog but is also great with kids. She knows when it’s time to work and can turn it on. She’ll be hard to replace.”

The department is currently looking at a male dog from Hungary to replace Lola. “Prices for police dogs, now post 9/11, are about $10,000 or more,” said Paulsson. “We will look to fund through donations and will host a name-the-dog contest with input from area youth.”

Chief Call commented, “It’s nice when a dog makes it through a long career, and Lola still looks good for 12 years old. We should all look so good. But every good dog has its day and she’ll need to get used to sitting around the house.”

Though no retirement pension had been planned, Call joked “a biscuit a day” might be appropriate.

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