Officer Andrew Versocki is preparing for one of the most difficult transitions in his career, retiring his longtime partner Bowy, who sniffed out cocaine, heroin, marijuana and other illicit drugs.
Bowy always kept an eye on Versocki, a 10-year veteran of the Bedford Police Department when he made traffic stops or entered a house not knowing what he would find.
Bowy, a Belgian Malinois, and Versocki have been inseparable for the past six years.
“It’s always nice when I go out on patrol I have a dog that always has my back. She is trained to protect me and other people if I am first on a call,” he said.
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Versocki said he will continue taking Bowy when he does his patrol shifts, and she will retire in a few weeks, he said.
The Bedford Police Department recently purchased another dog from U.S. K9 Unlimited in Louisiana, and an officer is training to work with a newest member of the police force.
Bowy, who is close to 9 years old, didn’t show any signs of slowing down recently when Versocki commanded her to find heroin and cocaine that he had hidden in the Police Department garage as part of a demonstration. She bounded over chairs, went under a trailer and calmly sat in front of a box where heroin was hidden.
Bowy was deployed over 750 times during her career, and she was directly responsible for hundreds of felony arrests. Bowy also helped get millions of dollars worth of drugs off of the streets and helped to seize around a half million in currency.
After petting and praising Bowy, Versocki commanded her to “find” and “check check” and she quickly pinpointed more drugs hidden in a metal lockbox.
Dogs have such a keen sense of smell that they can differentiate between cocaine and crack cocaine. Marijuana has a strong odor, whereas meth doesn’t have much of an odor to humans, Versocki said.
Although Bowy loves her work, Versocki said it is time for her retirement.
“I think she deserves it; these dogs work 100 percent. She deserves a couple of years of retirement,” he said.
Versocki added that he and his wife are expecting their first child in January, and he is ready to pass the torch to another officer who will work with a new dog.
“It will be strange not having her in the patrol car with me. I’ve always had that extra set of eyes. When I make traffic stops, she is there, ready to help me out.”