K-9 Officer Brutus retires from Genoa PD
Genoa Township Police Department Officer Jason Berner was in chambers with his partner Brutus during last Thursday’s Genoa Township Board of Trustees meeting. Berner and Brutus, Genoa’s K-9 officer, have been partners for eight years.
Brutus, who was in chambers for his official retirement ceremony, went into service in 2004, he’s 10 years old, and the lifespan for canine street work is 9 to 10 years.
In January Genoa Police Chief Robert Taylor reported that Brutus has aged and is suffering from degenerative myopathy, a canine form of Multiple Sclerosis. Chief Taylor said considering Brutus’ age and condition, it’s time for retirement.
Brutus had to officially retire on March 22 when his state certification ended. Unlike most humans who leave the workplace early when they retire to use up accumulated sick time and personal days, Brutus worked right up to the wire — he did a school search last Thursday at Westerville Central High School.
Brutus will retire to the Berner home via a one-dollar purchase agreement.
“It’s bittersweet, but it’s time,” Berner said. “Eight years is a long time, it feels just like yesterday, but he’s ready to spend time at home with the family. He can’t be replaced, and he won’t be; he loves my family and that’s where he’ll stay.”
Chief Taylor said a police department’s working K-9 is worth its weight in gold.
“Brutus has accompanied officers when they’re delivering search warrants, has done drug searches and tracking,” Taylor said. “He’s retiring from police service and will be full-time protection and companionship for Kelly and the kids.
Berner said before he left home earlier in the evening, his son Jackson, who shares his bedroom with Brutus, removed a one-dollar bill from his piggy bank so he could pay for Brutus. Following a brief retirement ceremony, Jackson handed the dollar bill to Chief Taylor, making the transfer of ownership official.
Asked what he thought of Brutus, Jackson replied: “He’s my favorite dog.”
The Genoa PD has raised over $10,000 in donations for a replacement K-9 with proper training. The effort was funded in large part thanks to a $6,000 donation from William H. Davis, Dorothy M. Davis and William C. Davis of the Davis Foundation.
During the Thursday, February 2, board of trustees meeting the trustees approved the purchase of a new police dog to replace Brutus. Before the trustees voted to approve the purchase, Chief Taylor said that all donated money will go to the K-9 Fund for the care and training of the new canine.
The new Genoa Township K-9 was purchased from Azzi International Canine Services for $7,250.
“We’ve used Azzi International before, they have a good product,” Berner said in February. “The dog we’re looking at is 26 months old, trained in Germany for German police.”
Berner said the new Genoa PD K-9 is kenneled at the Berner residence, has started a six-week training course to prepare for state certification, and – it must be a generation gap – does not get along with Brutus.