Auburn Police Department’s newest officer was sworn in during a recent City Council meeting.
K9 “Rocky” and his handler, Patrol Officer Tyler Ham, took the Law Enforcement Oath of Honor, which was issued by Auburn Mayor Jonathan LaBonté.
“Rocky,” a two-year-old German Shepherd, is named in honor of Auburn Police Officer Rodney “Rocky” Bonney, who was killed in the line of duty on April 6, 1981. Officer Bonney’s widow, Cherrie, got to meet her husband’s namesake for the first time at the event, proudly ‘pinning’ his badge during the ceremony.
“Rocky” also received a new ballistic vest, complete with APD patches and his name, to protect him as he works the road with his handler. The vest came courtesy of Wayne Robichaud and his family of Oxford. The Robichauds raise funds to purchase and donate vests to K9 officers across the state through their website and donation cans placed in stores across Maine. This labor of love, which began as a school project by their oldest daughter in 2009, has since become a family affair.
“Rocky” and Officer Ham recently graduated from the Maine Criminal Justice Academy K9 School, an intensive 14-week K9 training program. They join K9 “Dutch” and his handler, Corporal Kris Bouchard, who have been working together on the force since 2010. “Rocky” replaces “Inka,” who retired in February after six years of service with her handler, Corporal Scott Corey.
“These dogs work incredibly hard,” said Police Chief Phil Crowell. “They expand our law enforcement capabilities and they have a lot of heart. We are proud to have Rocky join our team. He is dedicated and very intelligent. With his namesake, he has some very big shoes to fill.”
To contribute funds to provide ballistic vets to K9 officers across Maine, see the Robichaud’s website at www.mainek9vests.com.