Monday, May 20, 2013

The passing of Max, Windham’s First police K9 by Lt. David DeGruchy

On Thursday, May 9, 2013, Windham’s first canine, Max, passed away.  He began training in June of 2000 and was retired in November of 2008 with eight years of service.  Max was fourteen years old.
In a email sent to Windham Police officers, Sgt. William “Bill” Andrew said, “I want to thank all of those who helped in his training to make us the success that (Max) was,  those who spent hours and miles following us through the worst of conditions needing while trusting in his abilities.  His fellow two legged officers are what helped make him a great success, without all the trust and support we could not have shown what a police dog is capable of.”

The Town Council approved the implementation of a police canine unit in February of 2000.  Windham Police Sergeant (then patrolman) Andrew was then appointed to the position of police canine handler.  With the help of Sgt. Thomas Chard, Scarborough Police Department canine unit, ten dogs from various sources were screened and rejected.  Finally with the help of Connecticut K9 Services, a German Shepherd was located in Czechoslovakia and brought to the United States.  Andrew said, “K-9 Max was the last dog we looked at and in the words of the broker, ‘I have one left, if you don't care what it looks like’.”   In mid-June of 2000 an anonymous supporter then generously donated the funds to purchase the first Windham Police canine. Andrew and Max had over 500 hours of training in obedience, agility, tracking, building and area searches, handler protection, and evidence search and recovery.  Max was smart, had a great nose and he excelled in the training.

Max loved to work.  He was an aggressive tracker with a great nose.  Max’s quick pace often kept Andrew at a run.  Andrew said, “Max found his first missing child in the spring of 2001. From there he continued finding bad guys, drugs, lost hikers, elderly and protecting me.” 

Max had numerous successful tracks finding people and property.  In the winter of 2001 Max tracked and located burglary ring suspects, who were responsible for breaking into businesses in southern and central Maine.   Max also was requested by other law enforcement agencies and located cocaine and crack cocaine valued at nearly a million dollars for the Drug Enforcement Administration along with the recovery of thousands of dollars in lost property in other cases.  Max participated with Andrew in well over two hundred demonstrations to schools, civic groups and other special requests. Andrew and Max were awarded the K-9 Team of the Year Award in 2001 by the New Hampshire Police Canine Academy and recognized twice by the United States Police Canine Association for successful drug searches and tracks.

“Although we are all saddened by Max’s passing, most of us cannot appreciate the special bond that K9 teams have and Bill and Max were no exception.  Max was a great and ever faithful dog and partner to Sgt. Andrew.  When Max was called to duty, he was ready.  He served honorably and bravely to make the community a better place and to that, we all owe our gratitude.

Thanks Max.”

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