Jeannette officer shepherds in new police dog
Two German shepherds bound to the door when Patrolman Justin Scalzo puts on his police uniform.
But only one can join him for work in Jeannette.
“It's a hard transition for him right now,” Scalzo said of retiring K-9 officer Wando, a 9-year-old dog who worked the city streets for seven years.
Wando will officially retire at Wednesday's Jeannette council meeting. Two-year-old Falco will be sworn in as Wando's replacement. Both dogs live with Scalzo and his family.
“I wanted a dog that met the standard of the one that I had before,” Scalzo said. “This dog surpassed those expectations, I think this dog is going to keep getting better.”
Master Trainer Bill Sombo of Strategic Law Enforcement K-9 Training Inc. prepared both dogs for police work.
“You can't put a price tag on what a dog can do for a police department,” said Sombo, who conducts training on his own time, separate from his work as a K-9 officer with North Huntingdon. “For what Wando has done in Jeannette, as far as tracking criminals, apprehending criminals and recovering evidence and drugs, is priceless.”
Wando and Falco work as dual-purpose police dogs, meaning they are certified in narcotics detection and patrolling, which can include obedience, tracking and searches. They can quell an aggressive situation and make a scene safer for their human counterparts.
Wando was purchased by Jeannette police for $5,000 in August 2005, Scalzo said. The dog and its training were funded by a grant from District Attorney John Peck.
By November 2005, Wando was certified and at work. In seven years, he has had more than 6,000 narcotics finds and more than 100 apprehensions.
Now, with arthritis in his lower spine and hips, Scalzo decided it was time for Wando to leave the force.
“I felt as the dog's handler and partner that it was time to retire him,” Scalzo said.
With a grant from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation at The Giving Back Fund, Falco was purchased for $6,500 in May 2012. On Nov. 21, Falco graduated from training and has been on the force since.
Already, Falco has helped clear buildings and locate narcotics in vehicles, Scalzo said.
Patrolman James Phillips said it's great to have the dogs around as an extra tool.
“It's nice to have that on your side as an advantage,” he said.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 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.
- Pair charged with prostitution-related offenses in South Greensburg
- Norvelt residents try to preserve community history’s link to Roosevelts
- Accident closes Route 22 in Murrysville
- Trial in Monessen homicide of drug dealer nears start
- Twin Lakes to host grand opening for expansion area that includes dek hockey rink
- Harrison City woman arrested for fighting police
- Scottdale man arrested at end of motorcycle chase
- Jeannette council to consider change in rental ordinance
- Opening arguments set in Rostraver home invasion case
- More than 120,000 attend Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival
- Hempfield woman seriously injured in crash