Stratford Police K-9 Roscoe officially retired after nine years of duty, and new police K-9 Bravo was officially installed at a Town Hall ceremony Jan. 31 with Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour officiating.
Officer Robert Joy, who handled 12-year-old Roscoe during his career and who remains with the force, was with Roscoe for the ceremony. Bravo’s handler, Officer Rachel Crosby, a five-year veteran of the force, was sworn in as the new member of the K-9 team.
The team of Roscoe and Joy is credited with successfully tracking 65 persons and locating stashes of cocaine and more than 60 pounds of marijuana. Their work resulted in hundreds of arrests, according to Ridenhour.
Three-year-old Bravo and Crosby have assisted in three narcotics arrests since taking to the streets of Stratford in November 2012, according to Ridenhour, one of which led to a seizing a large quantity of crack cocaine.
There are three canines on the Stratford Police and the K-9 teams become certified in tracking, obedience, area search, building search, aggression control, and narcotics detection. Roscoe and Bravo are both German Shepherds bred and born in Europe.
Ridenhour explained to those at the ceremony that services performed by the K-9 teams go beyond criminal cases. “When not out chasing bad guys, they have conducted numerous K-9 demonstrations at schools, businesses, community centers and civic events in Stratford and the region,” the chief explained to the group. “Roscoe has interacted well with his audiences, especially young children. These demonstrations have been both educational and entertaining, and they promote positive relations between the police department and the community.”
Joy told The Star that Roscoe’s career was highlighted by all of his successful “finds.” When Roscoe’s aging hips started to slow him up in recent months, Joy said it became clear that retirement was near. Crosby describes Bravo as “furry and high energy — playful at home and serious when he knows he is going to work.” Crosby says, “He gets excited for the task” of finding a person or narcotics.
The dogs live with their handlers when not at work, and Roscoe will be retiring back to the Joy family’s home.