WESTPORT, Conn. After 10 years of sniffing out drugs and helping track criminals and missing persons, Lola, an all-black German shepherd, is retiring from her post with the Westport Police Department.
Lola joined the department in 2002 and has more than 1,000 arrests to her credit, Capt. Sam Arciola said in a statement. She was first handled by then-officer Fotios Koskinas, who is now deputy chief, until 2007.
Officer Marc Heinmiller was Lolas handler until she was officially retired in January. Lola will now live with Heinmiller and his family.
Throughout her career, Lolas assisted a number of other agencies. In 2003, Lola helped the Fairfield Police Department in locating a suicidal male around Lake Mohegan. A year later, Lola located a burglary suspect who had broken the windows of a home and ran away. Lola found the suspect hiding in the back seat of an unlocked vehicle several streets away.
Lola also has helped seize tens of thousands of dollars in cash and several vehicles during narcotics enforcement. More recently, she helped the state police seize $3,200 in cash while searching for drugs during a traffic stop.
The Wilton Police Department recently requested Lolas help in finding a suspect who was wanted on a felony warrant and ran from police. Lola tracked the suspect to a wooded area and when she began barking, the suspect appeared and gave up.
Fighting crime wasnt Lolas only job, though. She was often brought in as a guest in the departments DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program to show groups of fifth-grade students how she would search for drugs and her obedience skills.
Now that Lola has retired, the department hopes to find another patrol dog for its K-9 Unit. The K-9 Unit is primarily operated by donations and support from the community, Arciola said. A new police dog can cost as much as $10,000.
Because police dogs arent given a name until selected, the department is inviting children in town to help name the dog. Suggestion boxes will be placed at Earth Animal, 606 Post Road E. and in the Westport Police Department lobby. Children should submit one male name and one female name. The child whose name is chosen will have his or her picture taken with the new police dog and will also receive a certificate from Police Chief Dale Call.
To support the K-9 Unit, send donations to: The Westport Police K9 Unit, 50 Jesup Road, Westport, CT 06880.
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