K9 retires after more than decade of service in Exeter

Mako retiring due to medical condition

EXETER TWP., Pa. - He's a valuable member of the Exeter Township police force.

"He's responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in seizures of vehicles, cash, narcotics," said Sgt. David L. Behm, Exeter Township Police Department. "He's helped us track felons."

One suspect, sought in a robbery in Cumru Township last year, was tracked down by Mako simply from the scent off a shoelace.

But now, due to a medical condition, K9 Ofc. Mako is retiring.

Mako's accumulated nearly a decade's worth of experience with Exeter Township Ofc. Darrin Gartner, as he walks on one last watch.

"The dog is truly a professional police dog in every sense of the word," Behm said. "He will be very missed."

Mako is now immortalized on a plaque, which will hang in Gartner's home, and it's not just the officer he directly worked with who was impacted, but the entire police force.

"I've been in a bite suit for him for years, and that was sort of like your last bite," Ofc. Brian Eveland said

For officers, working with a K9 is just like working with another officer, except for one difference.

"The difference for a K9 is you're going home with your partner," Behm said. "You're living with your partner. You're feeding it, making sure it's cared for medically."

One last walk, one last bite, and one last salute for his service.

"It's just tough," Eveland said. "You're gonna have an empty backseat for awhile."

Mako will live out his days at home with Ofc. Gartner, his handler.

"Take care Mako," the department said in a post on its Facebook page. "You're a great dog, and thank you for your service."

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