ELYRIA — The Police Department lost one of its four-legged team members Thursday.
Stuka, a 10-year-old police dog that had served on the police force for seven years, died after suffering from a chronic illness.
“Each day was an experience with Stuka,” said Officer Rick Walker, the senior police dog’s handler. “We had an unconditional trust.”
The locally born German Shepherd was a multipurpose dog certified in narcotic searches and tracking down suspects. He received commands in German and excelled at assisting with crowd control, according to the department.
“Stuka ensured the squad security and a higher level of police work,” said Walker.
After an initial three months of training and a full year of practice, Walker said “the light switch turned on” for Stuka, solidifying their relationship.
“Stuka went on auto-pilot when working and, when he came home, he could relax and be a dog,” said Walker, who — as is customary for police dogs — took Stutka home with him when his shift was over. “He made my job easy.”
Stuka’s passion for work and playing catch was evident even in his final days.
“I am humbled by his commitment,” Walker said. “I cherished every movement.”
A private memorial will commemorate Stuka’s life and service to the community. Police Chief Duane Whitely said the department is not looking to replace Stutka.
Patrol Officer Tom Baracski has the other police dog on the force, Foky.
Contact Elizabeth Kuhr at 329-7144 or firstname.lastname@example.org.