Retirement parties are going to the dogs.
Keller police celebrated the retirement of K-9 officer Rowdy, who was mainly just interested in enjoying a treat.
Rowdy, a Belgian Malinois, retired last month after a decorated nine-year career. City officials, residents and friends gathered at the Keller Police Department headquarters Thursday to thank him for his service.
“The dog before Rowdy … didn’t like anyone and he scared me,” Police Chief Mark Hafner said. “We wanted a K-9 that will represent our core values, that will partner with the community.”
Enter Rowdy, named for his general distaste for keeping still, who began his career when he was 1.
Maureen Cooke was a patrol officer for a few years before taking over as the K-9 handler 10 years ago, and she found a great match in Rowdy.
In nine years, Rowdy was deployed more than 1,000 times, helped in more than 400 drug arrests and participated in 86 public demonstrations. He assisted and received commendations from the FBI, the Homeland Security Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and other national, state and local law enforcement agencies.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Keller is a safer community today, that our officers have been safe on the road, and that we took drugs and captured dangerous people because of Rowdy,” Hafner said. “And as taxpayers, he’s the best bargain you’ll get.”
Mayor Mark Mathews issued a proclamation at the retirement party, recognizing Rowdy for his service and deeming Feb. 5, 2015, as K-9 Officer Rowdy Day in Keller. He also announced that Deloitte University in Westlake, where Rowdy made regular searches, has donated $10,000 toward the next K-9 officer.
Sgt. Jared Lemoine told a few of his favorite Rowdy stories, including the night early in his career when Rowdy led officers to five ounces of cocaine hidden underneath a screwed-in panel of a suspect’s car. He also one time found a small bag of cocaine that someone tried to hide in a fast food hamburger. And on another arrest, Lemoine said that while he talked to a man outside the man’s car, Rowdy impatiently opened the center console with his nose, picked up a bag containing a marijuana pipe and flung it out to Lemoine’s feet.
Cooke said she will miss working with Rowdy, who was rarely seen without her.
“I used to have a name, but now I’m Rowdy’s mom,” Cooke said. “… I’m certainly going to miss having him in my back seat.”
While Rowdy clearly misses working with Cooke, he will enjoy retirement at her home with his friend Lucy the donkey.
Mark David Smith, 817-390-7808