The Sherman Police Department is saying farewell to one of its own, albeit one with four legs. The department and city held a brief retirement ceremony for Gunner, one of the department’s K-9 units, Friday as a part of this month’s coffee with the mayor.
Gunner first joined SPD in 2014, has been involved in multiple drug busts and has helped apprehend multiple suspects over the years. Now, at the age of eight, the German Shepherd is ready to move onto the next stage in his life.
"He is a huge asset to the police department," said Officer Austin Ross, Gunner’s partner. "He has helped seize $20,000, has helped seize tons of drugs and helped apprehend over 30 felony suspects that have run from us and other departments as well."
Ross is Gunner’s second partner, after his first handler graduated out of the K-9 program about three years ago.
"When I first got him, he had another handler before me, so the first few weeks were tough," Ross said. "Now he is my best friend, and is like family to me."
In retirement, Gunner will stay with continue to be man’s best friend, but as a pet rather than a partner.
"With this retirement, Gunner will be staying with officer Ross and his family," Lt. Jeremy Cox said. "He will be transitioning from the police dog mode into the family dog mode and so he will be a welcome member of their family into the future."
Ross said Gunner will likely become his wife’s dog and will help protect the home while he is away.
With Gunner’s retirement, Ross said he will be headed to Florida this weekend to meet with a breeder regarding the purchase of a new police dog. For the next recruit into the department, members of SPD said they plan to purchase a Belgian Malinois, which is quickly replacing the German Shepherd due to its smaller size and lack of hip issues, which shepherds are prone to.
The training with the new dog is expected to take about 12 weeks, with Gunner’s replacement set to hit the streets of Sherman some time this fall.
Ross said that the new dog is expected to cost about $14,000 for training. This funding has already been acquired using a Sherman K-9 pride fund, which lets residents opt into an optional $1 monthly fee, which appears on the water bill.
Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.