Wareham Police Department temporarily suspends K-9 program
The Wareham Police Department’s K-9 program is set to be suspended for the foreseeable future, according to Acting Police Chief John Walcek.
“It was a very difficult decision for us to make,” Walcek said. “But I feel that it really is in the best interest of the town and our department.”
Wareham’s current K-9 unit consists of Officer Mike Phinney and German Sheperd Rolf. The two recently assisted in the arrest of Ron Goodrich, who ran from police after committing a traffic violation at the corner of High Street on May 3.
“Mike Phinney is one of the best handlers out there,” Walcek said. “And Rolf has been a valuable member of this department.”
At nine years old, however, Walcek said that it’s unfair to continue putting Rolf on patrol.
“We’d hate to see something happen to him,” Walcek said. “So really, this is just Rolf retiring."
Rolf’s last day with the department is set for July 1. Walcek said that Phinney will then have top priority for Rolf's adoption.
"I can't imagine these two not sticking together," Walcek said.
The department had previously been offered money for a new dog, but the training required would take an officer out of work for up to 16 weeks.
“I can’t afford to lose an officer for that long,” Walcek said. “Summer is a really busy time of year for us, and we just don’t have the resources. Fiscally and physically, a new dog just isn’t feasible right now.”
Walcek said that the Plymouth County Sheriff’s office will be sending K-9 officers to Wareham as needed for the time being.
“It’s a temporary situation,” Walcek said. “I really do want there to be dogs at this department.”