Lewisburg Police K-9 retires from service


LEWISBURG — The Lewisburg Police Department, along with neighboring law enforcement departments from Camden, West Alexandria, and Tipp City, celebrated the retirement of K-9 officer Apollo on Saturday, May 6.

The ceremony was held at the Lewisburg Community Center and was well attended by members of the public and city officials alike.

Police Chief Rick McGee began by thanking those in attendance, the community for their continued support for the Lewisburg Police Department, and Royal Canin for not only sponsoring K-9 Officer Apollo, but the department’s second K-9 Officer, Zeke.

“I think it’s only fair to mention the K-9 training group, the men and women, that Corporal Johnson and Apollo have trained with. These men and women, law enforcement officials, are dedicated professional who have strived to, not only, make themselves better, but their dogs better,” stated McGee. “I would also like to thank the people who have volunteered to help out with this event today. There are a lot of my officers, a lot of schoolteachers, and a lot of village employees are all here to help out.

“And last, but not least, I cannot thank or say enough about the last person. Corporal Johnson. He is not only one of my employees, but he’s one of my friends. I want to reassure everybody that Corporal Johnson and Apollo’s success is based on Corporal Johnson and his dedication to this program. Corporal Johnson has spent countless training hours and personal time making sure this program continues to succeed,” McGee said.

“He’s truly dedicated to the program, and I have watched Corporal Johnson spend hours in training and taking care of both dogs. Johnson will be the handler for our new dog, Zeke. He has taken both of them into his home and treated them as part of his own family. He and his family have done wonders with both of these dogs. I know Apollo will be well taken care of with Corporal Johnson, who will now become his personal owner, and Apollo will have a good retirement with him.”

McGee noted, for Apollo’s years of service, Royal Canin has guaranteed to provide free food for the rest of his life.

Lewisburg Mayor Marsha Jones also said a few words on behalf of the village. “Apollo is a full-blooded German Shepherd, born in Hungary on Oct. 4, 2014, making him 9 years old this year,” began Jones.

“Corporal Andrew Johnson received Apollo from Vohne Liche Kennels in Denver, Indiana in October of 2016. Royal Canin helped with funding for Apollo, they have donated his food since we acquired him, and recently Royal Canine announced they will continue to donate food for Apollo’s lifetime.

“They have even named one of their buildings after Apollo. Royal Canin have contributed for two dogs for the Lewisburg Police Department, Apollo being the first, and Zeke the second. An anonymous donor funded the rest of the cost for Apollo, and the expense to outfit the cruiser. Prices Creek Veterinary Service has provided healthcare for Apollo. Our community thanks contributors for their assistance in providing K-9 law enforcement services for the Village of Lewisburg.”

According to Jones, Johnson and Apollo underwent 6 weeks of Police K-9 academy, have trained with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, and Mason, Franklin, and Tipp City Police Departments.

Johnson and Apollo have trained in various locations, such as King’s Island, Franklin County Training Facility, and numerous others across the country.

Corporal Johnson and Apollo were presented with three certificates honoring them for their service, outstanding excellence, and Apollo’s retirement. Johnson signed the transfer papers to have Apollo decommissioned and enter into his guardianship, signed by Chief McGee.

After congratulatory remarks, Johnson and neighboring K-9 units held a demonstration for those attending showcasing K-9 training techniques, as well as Apollo’s last article search, with volunteers from the audience.

“We got Apollo in November of 2016, he’s always been a part of the family and will continue to be a part of our family,” Johnson said.

Johnson noted that K-9 Zeke has a year of experience already and has received some guidance from Apollo along the way.

“Zeke just turned 2, and Apollo turns 9 this year. We got Zeke when he was 10 months old, so he was a puppy basically. They’re different breeds — Zeke is a Belgian Malinois, and Apollo is a German Shepherd.”

Johnson thanked his family for allowing him the opportunity and time required for the program, and their support for Apollo and Zeke.

“I’m very grateful to the community for all of this support. Nothing makes me prouder than to see all these people out here for Apollo. Apollo has grown to be a major cornerstone of this community. It’s always funny because people know Apollo more than they know me,” he said.

Johnson and his family look forward to providing an easy life for Apollo and a well-earned retirement.

Reach Nathan Hoskins at 937-683-4057

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