DANBURY, Conn. — The newest member of the Danbury Police Department dropped by City Hall on Wednesday to meet Mayor Mark Boughton.
The new officer, known just as Rocky, has a shiny black coat and is only 23 months old. He's a black labrador/pit bull mix who was more than happy to get a few pat-pats from Mayor Mark as he visited with Danbury Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour and Sgt. James Antonelli, the department's K-9 Unit supervisor.
But when it comes to the job, Rocky has a nose for crime. He is trained as a single purpose narcotics K-9, with the job of sniffing out marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.
“We have hit the streets and are ready to go," Antonelli said of his partner.
Rocky was purchased in part from a $100,000 donation last year from the estate of the late Kenneth and Ann Gleszer, who lived in Danbury.
"We are fortunate to have our newest K-9 at the Police Department, thanks to the Gleszer estate. Rocky is ready to work with our Police Department to ensure Danbury remains one of the safest cities to live in the state of Connecticut," Boughton said.
“We are using Rocky in our Community Conditions Unit as well as our Special Investigations Division for narcotics investigations that we do," Antonelli said.
Rocky, who lives with Antonelli, will work for about 10 years, according to Antonelli.
“It’s a big commitment but it's great. I don’t think there is any more rewarding job in this department. You come to work and are with the dog the whole time.
“He will be going out with me every day," Antonelli said.
All the police cruisers are specially designed for dogs. "All of our cars have a canine insert in the back," he said. There is also a monitor that detects when the car gets too hot.
Ridenhour said that all of Danbury's Police Department's patrol dogs are narcotics dogs.
"German shepherds make great police dogs. They are a jack-of-all-trades. They are good for crowd control, community relations and are very protective of their handlers," Ridenhour said.
Two other German shepherds — Zeeke and Koda — are on also on the patrol at the Danbury Police Department.
“We are hoping to get at least one more German shepherd so we can have one on every shift in the department,” Ridenhour said.
According to Ridenhour, it costs $12,000 to $13,000 to purchase and train each dog.
“Welcome aboard Rocky,” Boughton said. “We are proud to have you.”