Erie Police Retirement Means No More K9s On Police Force - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Erie Police Retirement Means No More K9s On Police Force

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For the first time in nearly 50 years, there will not be a K9 officer on the Erie police force.
This comes, as the last officer on the force with a K9, retires.

It's bitter sweet for officer Pete Dregalla, he's retiring after nearly 3 decades on the force.
And it's bitter sweet for his partner too, his police K9 is going from a working dog, to a house pet.

After 28-years on the force, Erie police patrolman Pete Dregalla is retiring.
With him, so will his 7-year old police K9, Sunder.

Their retirement means the first time since 1967, that there has not been a police K9 on the force.
Sunder is trained as both a patrol dog and drug detection K9.

Over the years, Sunder has proven critical to Erie police, helping officers break up large, unruly crowds, and getting convictions on several drug cases, "Over the years we have caught some burglars in the building. Numerous drug finds. I've been not only to county court I've been to federal court over some of his drug searches, all of which ended up being a good result when the trial was over," said Officer Dregalla.

Erie's police chief says in the immediate future, there will not be any K9's on the force, but it is possible that the 4-legged officers will return to patrol at some point.

"The mayor and I see it the same way," said Erie Police Chief Randy Bowers. "If it's needed and we determine it'll be a plus for the department, and make our policing efforts more effective then I can see us moving in that direction," Chief Bowers added.

Right now, the city works in cooperation and relies on State Police K9's for drug cases, and the airport K9 or Mercyhurst University K9 for explosives detection if needed.
So, if the city decides to bring K9's back on the force, they'll be trained patrol dogs.
Chief Bowers says if they'd work with officers specific hours, during specific shifts where the dogs would be needed the most.

But for partners Dregalla and Sunder, their future will be much more relaxed, "Now he's going to have a life of leisure at home. I've got some things on the back burner so that's going to be our future," said Dregalla.

 

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