BARTLESVILLE, Okla. -- Eight may seem like too early of an age to retire from a job, but it's not for a couple of veteran officers in Washington County.
The Bartlesville Police Department expects that its two K9 officers will retire next year. Apollo, the German Shepherd, and Diesel, the Sprocker Spaniel, will soon turn eight.
Apollo's partner, Patrolman Troy Newell, said that's usually the age when a police dog's career ends.
"It would probably be the difference of us retiring at 60 as opposed to 80," Newell said. "They have a little time after they've served that long to enjoy life."
Newell became partners with Apollo in 2010. During that time, he said the German Shepherd helped him with hundreds of drug cases, apprehended several felony suspects and improved relationships with the community.
"Most children love dogs," Newell said. "It lets them know that the police are their friends and makes them feel safe and feel like they can come to us and create those positive bonds."
Diesel, the department's other K9 officer, will also reach retirement age next year, and his partner, Patrolman Andrew Ward, said that will be a bittersweet moment.
"It's definitely going to be a weird feeling to not have him in the back of my car anymore," Ward said.
"I imagine he'll just hang out at the house with my son. They've got a pretty good bond, so I imagine he'll just relax."
Ward and Newell are now trying to collect donations so that they can get new partners. They said the department's budget cannot cover the cost.
They said they need to raise about $35,000 altogether to pay for their new dogs, their training and the necessary equipment to keep the dogs safe in the patrol cars.
"You know one dollar is one dollar closer to our goal," Newell said.
Anyone interested in donating to the K9 officer fund can do so by contacting Bartlesville police at 918-338-4001.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines and Daily Forecasts.