City Refuses To Allow Retiring Police Officer To Keep His K-9 Partner So Community Step In To Help
There are rules in place and all of us have to live by them. Sometimes the rules make sense and they protect us in one way or another. At other times, we wonder why they are a rule in the first place.
This came up in an interesting way back in 2016 when a 57-year-old police officer was getting ready to retire. According to NBC News, officer Matthew Hickey had spent 30 years serving the community in Marietta, Ohio on the police force.
After retiring in 2016, he was looking forward to spending his free time with the K-9 officer that he had worked with for the past four years. He was planning on buying the German Shepherd, Ajax, and they would spend retirement together.
As the time got closer for officer Hickey to retire, he found out something unexpected about buying a K-9 officer. He had always planned on purchasing Ajax from the city, but Ohio law states they are part of city property and there are rules that govern who can buy them and why they can buy them.
According to the rules, Ajax would only be able to be purchased by a trainer who specializes in canines or an active/retired police officer. You would think that officer Hickey would be the right person for purchasing Ajax but the K-9 police officers had to be either elderly or injured in the line of duty.
Since neither of those was the case with Ajax, and he was in good health and only six years old, he would have to work as a K-9 police officer for years. Officer Hickey was not happy with the situation, as he considered Ajax to be a member of the family.
Officer Hickey had Ajax’s value assessed at $3500. The city was still unable to budge and said they would have to auction Ajax off to the highest bidder.
Officer Hickey’s wife, Sandra, spoke out about how wrong it was to auction off a living, breathing thing just as you would a desk or a chair. Although officer Hickey would do his best to bid on the dog, he was afraid that he would be outbid and never see Ajax again.
That was when the community got involved. They found out about the situation and set up a GoFundMe account and raised $72,615.
Officer Hickey said he came to realize that there were a lot of good people out there. As a police officer, he knew there were bad people but the good outweighed them. As you can imagine, this would have been a PR nightmare for the city and they knew it. The legal department got involved to see what could be done and they did find a loophole.
If they disband a K-9 unit, the handler could purchase the dog for only $1. Since Officer Hickey was retiring, the unit had been disbanded.
Since Officer Hickey was able to purchase Ajax for $1, they were able to donate the money that was raised to Vested Interest. That organization provides bulletproof vests to K-9 dogs.
You can see more in this video:Whizzco