A member of an area police department is retiring after many years of dedicated service to the village.
The Cridersville Police Department K-9, Max, began his career with the village in April 2005, and his official retirement day was Jan. 1.
Max is a German shepherd from the Czech Republic and is trained in narcotics detection, tracking and apprehension.
“He’s been like a family member to us,” Cridersville Police Chief John Drake said of Max.
As Max’s handler, Drake decided it was time to retire the K-9 because of health reasons.
“He started having issues,” Drake said. “I took him to the vet and he was diagnosed with arthritis of the spine in November, and it started getting worse.”
Drake first noticed Max having difficulties when he struggled get-
ting in and out of the police cruiser, and it got to a point where Drake had to lift the dog in and out of the truck.
“I knew then it was time for him to retire,” Drake said.
The Ohio Revised Code states the handler can purchase the K-9 for $1 from the village of Cridersville after retirement to take ownership of the dog, and Drake has done that, and now the dog belongs to his family, including his wife, Shannon, and children Austin and Lauren.
Max is the first K-9 that the Cridersville Police Department had and is also the first K-9 that Drake has handled.
“There is no talk of replacing the K-9 at this time,” Drake said.
Over the years, Max has helped seize approximately $160,000 in drug money. He has also helped every agency in Auglaize County with vehicle searches, along with outside agencies with residence searches.
Max has also been involved in assisting officers with the apprehension of eight suspects.
“He has done a lot,” Drake said.
Along with searches, Max has helped with demonstrations, including participating at the National Night Out in Wapakoneta and demonstrations with local Boy and Girl Scout troops.
“He was a great partner,” Drake said. “I will miss having him out with me every day, but I will get to enjoy him at home and just letting him be a dog.”