Greencastle, PA - Greencastle Police K9 Rony died on Wednesday, Dec. 20, after being struck by a vehicle.
"It's totally heartbreaking. He's a police officer. We lost a very dedicated police officer today," Councilman Larry Faight said.
The Greencastle Borough Council was scheduled to discuss Thursday whether to continue the K9 program for 2018 and beyond. Some council members had proposed putting K9 Rony's handler Greencastle Police Officer Keith Russell on patrol for the hours he dedicated to care and training of the dog.
"I honestly think the votes were there to keep the program going," said Mayor Robert Eberly. He said that he doesn't think the council would talk about getting another K9 soon.
"This is the loss of a friend, and I don't think anyone's ready to jump in [with another]," Eberly said.
The council had discussed discontinuing the K9 program when K9 Rony, a German shepherd and Belgian Malinois mix, became too old for the duties.
K9 Rony was certified for narcotics work and patrol tasks, which included tracking and apprehending suspects, building searches, protection, and searches for evidence. He served as a police ambassador for children during special events.
Mayor-elect Ben Thomas Jr. said any plans to eliminate K9Rony's role were shortsighted. He wanted to further promote the dog's work, and said the unexpected loss of "one of the most crucial tools" police have is devastating to the entire community.
"This K-9 was highly trained. ... If anyone is going to celebrate, it's the drug dealers in the area," Thomas said.
In a statement, the Greencastle Police Department said:
"Rony faithfully served his handler, the officers and the community of Greencastle for the last 8 years. The Greencastle Police Department wishes to thank the community for their support during that time and going forward. It is truly appreciated."
K9 Rony served the citizens of Greencastle Borough for eight years.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Russell and the Greencastle Police Department in their loss of K9 Rony.