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Dog-loving Greensburg judge administers 'oath' to park's K-9 officer

| Friday, July 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Westmoreland County Park Police Patrol Officer and K-9 Handler Bill Meyers along with his dog Rex give each other a look after being sworn into office by District Judge James Albert on Thursday, July 18, 2013.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
The badge worn by Westmoreland County Park Police K-9 Officer, Rex, photographed after being sworn into office by District Judge James Albert on Thursday, July 18, 2013.

The hairiest member of Westmoreland County Park Police obediently sat in a district judge's courtroom on Thursday and took an oath.

“Sit,” fellow Officer Bill Meyers said in German, and Rex took his oath from Greensburg District Judge James Albert without a peep — or a bark.

Rex, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois, is the first dog with county park police and the first canine sworn in by Albert, a dog lover.

Meyers said he wanted his four-legged partner to be sworn in because they both work to take a bite out of crime.

“I'm a police officer. I get sworn in,” Meyers said. “He's a police officer. We're no different. Assaulting him would be just like assaulting me in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

Members of Albert's staff rushed up to Rex after the ceremony to congratulate him.

The sleek 83-pound animal accepted the accolades in stride — and with a few tail wags.

His swearing-in paperwork, as well as Meyer's as his handler, were then notarized.

Rex was born in Europe and came to county police last summer through a kennel specializing in police canines, Meyers said.

Rex spent three months training with the Pittsburgh Police canine unit and is given most commands in German.

The dog is especially skilled in detecting explosives, tracking people and identifying guns, Meyers said. He has been used to search for weapons in Pittsburgh-area schools, according to his handler.

The only English command Rex knows is “OK,” which means “relax,” Meyers said.

In his down time, Rex stays with Meyers, his wife and their two sons in their Hempfield home.

“He's with me 24/7,” Meyers said.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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