Charleroi Regional Police board receives K-9 update
By Chris Buckley
Published: Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, 1:56 a.m.
Police Officer Bill Gardner has been working with his K-9 partner, Rex, since spring 2008.
Gardner told the Charleroi Regional Police board on Wednesday that his working relationship likely can continue another two years before Rex “retires.”
Rex, a Belgian Malinois shepherd, is 8 years old, Gardner said. It is a breed that commonly serves 10 years in police work before retiring, Gardner said.
In comparison, German shepherd K-9 dogs generally retire after eight years on the job, Gardner said.
“With good health, I would hope to get two more years with Rex,” Gardner said. “I have full confidence in him.”
Noting that Rocco, a Pittsburgh K-9 dog, died after being stabbed in the line of duty late last month, board Chairman Randy DiPiazza asked if Rex has a protective vest.
DiPiazza is a Charleroi councilman.
Gardner said he has a vest for the dog, but Rex wears it only occasionally – during searches, for example. He said it is too heavy for the dog to wear on a regular basis.
He said Rex also has a life jacket for use in searches near the Monongahela River.
Board member and North Charleroi Councilman Bob Hodgson asked Gardner when he would recommend training with a new dog.
Gardner suggested that when the time comes to replace Rex, the department purchase a trained dog. That wasn't possible in the case of Rex, because Gardner first had to undergo training to handle a K-9 partner.
DiPiazza said Gardner will decide when it is time to retire Rex.
The board agreed to apply for a grant from The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation.
The foundation was established by the Steelers' quarterback with a mission of “supporting K-9 units of police and fire departments throughout the U.S. with a particular emphasis on support for service dogs,” according to its website.
The board also will seek applications for an internship, likely from criminal justice majors.
Board member Larry Celaschi suggested the intern work in all of the regional department's municipalities. The Charleroi councilman said tasks could involve public awareness and acquiring emergency contacts for business owners.
At the beginning of the meeting, DiPiazza asked nine members of the regional police force to stand and introduce themselves. Chief Mike Matyas was at the board table.
The board members also introduced themselves.
The department, which patrols Charleroi, North Charleroi, Speers and Twilight, responded to 304 calls in January.
“Keep up the good work,” DiPiazza told the officers. “Kudos. I applaud you. Believe me, we take notice.”
Celaschi said lines of communication are open between the board and the officers.
“If you don't communicate, that's how problems arise,” Celaschi said. “If you have any problems, please communicate with us.”
Charleroi Mayor John Mollenauer told the officers his office is open.
“Feel free, if I'm available, to come in and talk with me one-on-one,” Mollenauer said.
“It's great to see the best police department in the Valley here,” board member and Speers Mayor Bill Lee said.
“Keep up the good work.”
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- North Charleroi man to stand trial for car thefts, arson charges
- Electric heater blamed for Charleroi house fire
- Marion promotes autism awareness
- Drug suspect’s escape try fails
- Card theft claim lands Charleroi woman in trouble
- It’s ‘Sammy Vasquez Jr. Day’ in Monessen
- Pastor’s childhood tale, scar key to Easter message