The Sterling Heights Police Department will be adding two new K-9 units to the police department, bringing total K-9’s to three.
With a longtime K-9 handler and National K-9 instructor, Officer Rich Heins, retiring his dog Chase, the department has decided to replace the K-9 and add a third K-9. The two new K-9 units are year and a half old German Shepherds and were purchased from a law enforcement kennel in Pennsylvania. The two new K-9 handlers are Officer Ryan Braathen, with K-9 Groot and Officer Jeremy Walleman with K-9 Ernie. K-9’s Groot and Ernie will be joining K-9 Ivy and her handler, Officer Darren Steele. We are fortunate to have two nationally accredited K-9 instructors that are able to personally train the dogs for ten weeks and then spend five additional weeks as their new handlers. These K-9’s will be trained in tracking, narcotic detection and patrol work. The K-9’s are also an excellent public relations tool with all of the city's community events.
Police Chief Dale Dwojakowski stated,"We wish K-9 Chase a happy, and well-deserved retirement and welcome our two newest four-legged friends to the force! All of our K-9’s will make an appearance at the October 2nd Sterling Heights City Council Meeting at 7:00 p.m."
Pictured below, Groot (top) and Ernie (bottom).
Media with questions can contact Community Relations at (586) 446-2470.